A meeting was held on Wednesday 25th May, 2016 at the Alston George Park to plot the way forward for the park. The meeting was hosted by the parliamentary representative for St. Mark’s, the Honourable Dr. Clarice Modeste. Those in attendance included media personnel, personnel from the Ministry of Sports, representatives from the St. Mark’s Organisation for Development (SMOD), representatives from the Bonair Government School, representatives from sports clubs in St. Mark’s, groundsmen and various other stakeholders.
The meeting was called due to growing concern in the parish as to when the park would be available for public use. The park is undergoing refurbishment work and has not been available for public use for a prolonged period. The meeting was successful, and some of the points raised are presented in this article.
The Alston George Park is special. It is the only park in Grenada other than the Grenada National Stadium which is sand based. One advantage of using a sand base is that games can be played in the park during or after rainfall with no problems. The disadvantages of using a sand base are that the park would need special cutters to cut the grass and the grass takes a little longer to grow.
Issues raised by others included small holes in the park, lighting of the park and pavilion, water that settles in front of the pavilion during rainfall instead of running off. Most were keen to know whether anything could be done to speed up the process of getting the park in a ready condition.
Suggestions for rectifying some of the issues raised included filling in the small holes with top soil which would be taken from the back of another playing field in Grenada which already has grass seeds, and watering the grass so that it could spread and take over the grounds faster. This will be done in a way to not further increase the height or level of the park. A roller will made be available to roll the park once the holes have been filled. This will all be done in one day (the date agreed upon is Sunday 5th June 2016) with the assistance of volunteers.
One of main issue raised was the fact that the Grenada Football Association (GFA) only staged games in fenced parks due to sanitation issues. As a result, a chain fence would need to be installed in order for games to be staged at the park. The parliamentary representative will hold dialogue with GFA, and has given the assurance that the park would be ready to stage GFA games next football season (it would not be possible to take the necessary measures by the start of this football season which is scheduled to begin on June 10th 2016). Teams from St. Mark’s participating in the GFA competitions this season would play home games at the Cuthbert Peters Park, in Gouyave St. John’s.
In addition the parliamentary representative stated that material for two bleachers for the Alston George Park was already available; however, volunteers (preferably contractors from St. Mark’s) would be needed to assist in installing the bleachers, one of which would be in front of where the ‘Sand Box’ tree used to be, and the other in front of ‘Gold’ shop. Anyone knowing any contractor in St. Mark’s was asked to hold dialogues with them in this regard. The representative also pleaded with residents not to remove the material transported to the park, as they were needed for the bleachers.
All in all the meeting was a success. We await further updates.
The Grenada Electricity Company (GRENLEC) will be responsible for relocating three of the poles that are currently lighting the park, and additional bulbs will be installed.
A slipper drain will be installed in front of the pavilion which would allow the water to run out of the park, into the existing drains.
The pump which was bought for the park is missing the fittings for connecting the hose to the pump, but arrangements are being made to get or borrow the fittings. Volunteers will assist in watering the park.
There is one house in particular, which is near to the park where water from the roof runs into the park, and arrangements are being made to address the issue.
In the long term maintenance of the park, it will be necessary to roll the park periodically, especially for football. The lighting for the pavilion is also being addressed.
The Ministry asked residents to exercise a bit more patience as the park is looking better and better with time, and stressed the importance of not using the park when it rains during the teething stage. The official stressed the high quality of the cricket pitch. He said it had brought back memories of past cricketing days at the Grenada National Stadium and commended the groundsmen for getting the pitch to this level. The official stated that even in the park’s current state it was still in better condition than many playing fields in Grenada, and cricket could currently be played in the park, because of the nature of the game.