Years of discussion and debate, stops and starts, and round-the-clock work culminated Tuesday with the grand opening of Tortola Pier Park.

Hundreds of people showed up throughout the day to experience cultural parades, music, celebratory speeches, and other events at the 4.1-acre site.

Some two dozen fashion, food-and-beverage, and jewellery businesses were open, and project officials said more than 50 will be open by April.

Though the park still hasn’t achieved the “substantial completion” benchmark laid out in the government’s contract with Disney and Norwegian cruise lines, its opening is an important step toward confirming guarantees that the cruise lines will deliver some 425,000 passengers here each year and pay a $15 head tax on each one.

The total cost of the project has been estimated to be around $83 million — up almost $30 million from original projections — and construction has been ongoing since May 2014.

See the Feb. 18, 2016 edition for full coverage.