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Posted: Wednesday 25 January, 2023 at 10:29 AM

Refurbished New Road Park reopens to much fanfare

Reopening of the New Road Family Park (Photo by Konris Maynard/ Fb)
By: Jermine Abel,

    …Taiwan’s Ambassador pleas for care of the facility


    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AFTER being closed for more than a year, the New Road Family Park is back in operation, as a US$350,000 injection was provided for remedial works to the facility.


    Located in New Road, the facility has been a popular spot for many, including children who enjoy playing on the swings and slides. 


    But since the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility was closed to the publis as remedial works were being undertaken.


    Now, it has been opened and officials are happy for its return, but, at the same time, they are pleading to the public to take care of the facility as it is the taxpayers of Taiwan who assisted in fund its redevelopment.


    Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Michael Lin used the occasion to underscored the longstanding partnership between the two countries, reminding that 2023 makes it 40 years since the partnership was fostered.


    He also explained that due to drainage and slippage issues, the Park was in needed to be upgraded and it was done to the tune of US$350,000. 


    The Ambassador however chastised the public to use and care for the facility since it was taxpayers funds that covered the cost.


    Over the years, it was found that adults who use the Park often sit and play on facilities designated for children, which resulted in damage to the slides and or swings.


    “This Park belongs to all of the people of the Federation, not only the people who live in the Constituency. Every penny spent on this project was collected from Taiwan's taxpayers. Therefore, please do all your best to protect and maintain the facility and equipment…for adults, please do not sit on the swings designed for children up to 50 pounds,” the Ambassadors stated..


    Tourism Minister and Parliamentary Representative for the area, Marsha Henderson also chastised the public and called for the facility to have a minimum lifespan of 15 years, noting that that could only be done if due care and responsibility are placed on the facility.


    She also noted that the reopening of the Park, which provides a space to exercise and for recreation, is in keeping with the Government’s push to have more green spaces for persons to be active and socialize within communities across St. Kitts and Nevis.


    “I want to thank our friends from Taiwan who were instrumental in doing the work here for the reopening. It is  a pleasure and I hope that we will abide by the rules! We will take care of the equipment and the furniture and the grounds, and that we will live it out to the conditions for another 15 years,” noted Henderson.


    In providing an overview of the work undertaken, Permanent  Secretary Azilla Clarke reminded that the Park was first opened in 2014 and stood as a child-friendly location for social gatherings.


    While the Park was closed during the pandemic, officials recognized that there was undermining at the site and important remedial work was needed on the eastern side of the facility due to drainage challenges.


    Following the discovery, a contract was signed to the tune of US$149,300 for dismantling and cleaning of the area, dismantling and installation of new child-friendly equipment, repairs and upgrades to the bathroom, compacting of the earth under the collapsed walkway as well as the upgrades to the drainage system, among others.


    That project took just over two months for completion and was on target for the January completion.


    Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Geoffrey Hanley used the occasion to remind of the importance of community tourism and making the Federation a sustainable small island state. 


    That, he noted, could only be done by providing a place for the development of young people who are the next generation of leaders and developers of the country.


    Against that backdrop, the Minister urged family-time to continue to bring the bond within families in light of the challenges in raising children during difficult times, adding that the Family Park is critical in that development.


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