Residents of Standpipe in St. Andrew are now benefiting from a newly renovated sports complex, which is situated on the compound of the Church of St. Margaret.
The facility, which was refurbished at a cost of approximately $13 million, comprises basketball and netball courts, upgraded bleachers and restrooms, new changing rooms, a viewing gallery and a refreshment stand.
Funding was provided by the United States (US) Embassy in Jamaica, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Musson Foundation, and Sport Development Foundation (SDF), which provided $1 million, among other public and private-sector donors.
Speaking during the recent handover ceremony, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the facility will serve to strengthen the community and assist in reducing crime and violence.
“It is expected that the complex will provide opportunities for productive engagement for unemployed or unattached community members,” she said.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information and Member of Parliament for St. Andrew Eastern where Standpipe is located, Hon. Fayval Williams, said the complex will facilitate engagement in sports and physical activity among community members, adding: “I know the positive impact that this space will have on the community and its environs”.
Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy, Scott Feeken, said USAID, through the Caribbean Basin Initiative, contributed sports and playground equipment as well as additional fixtures to outfit the complex.
“The United States Government is committed to developing strong, safe and secure communities. This community development initiative is a true example of the strong partnership between Jamaica and the United States,” he added.
Musson Foundation Chair, Melanie Subratie, lauded the donors partnering on the project.
“We believe in the power of sports and the importance of empowering our communities to uplift their youth and the Jamaican people. This sports complex is an excellent example of the amazing things we can do as a community when we all come together,” she said.
As the lead coordinating organisation on the venture, the Foundation has committed an additional $600,000 in continued support to facilitate basketball and netball lessons for youth in the community.
A Sustainability Committee has been established to oversee the complex’s management and the development of programmes to be conducted in the area.