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Spruced-up park to reopen today - Town Clerk urges users to treat it with care

Published:Tuesday | November 18, 2014 | 11:00 AM
The sign announcing the closure of the park.
More of the tree limbs removed from the park.
Twelve truckloads of tree limbs were removed from the park.
Hard at work removing trimmed tree limbs.
A worker trimming a tree.
The area around the out-of-commission fountain already cleaned up inside the park.
Hard at work during the refurbishing of the St William Grant Park.
A worker painting one of the many garbage bins in the park.
Concentrating hard as he gives a facelift to a light pole in the park.
A plumber carrying out final repairs to pipes.
St William Grant Park downtown Kingston.
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Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor

The St William Grant Park is slated to be reopened today after being closed for just shy of three weeks for extensive refurbishing work, which was a painful eye-opener for the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC).

While there will be minor work to be completed after the park reopens, already, more than 640 bags of garbage, 12 truckloads of tree limbs, and most surprising, 45 bags of human faeces were removed from the park by the KSAC.

"People have used the park in an uncaring way, with their indiscipline and untidiness shown in how they dump their garbage and defecate anywhere in the facility," said town clerk Robert Hill.

"It is disappointing how people use these public spaces, which are set up for the comfort of everyone," added Hill.

He noted that several illegal connections to the electricity in the park had been discovered, leading to the need for extensive repairs to the electrical wiring in the facility.

"You would be surprised at how much electricity was being illegally extracted from the park," declared Hill as he pointed to extensive plumbing repairs that have also been done.

Necessary closure

"People have come into the park and stolen pumps, stolen pipes, stolen electrical items. They have even stolen bulbs. The closure was necessary to bring the park into some semblance of public order and proper management of our resources so that they are not wasted, damaged, stolen or vandalised."

According to Hill, a section of the administrative building at the park has been configured to host a police post to better secure the park, while a manager and wardens will be employed as part of efforts to ensure that money would not be needed in short order to again refurbish the facility.

The KSAC spent $1.5 million to refurbish the park this time around, with the bulk of the money being for labour, supplies, and removal of the garbage as most of the electrical and plumbing work was done at discounted rates.

Now, Hill is appealing to persons who enjoy the park to treat it with care.

"I am imploring residents of Kingston and St Andrew, and anyone else who uses the park, to treat it with care. Treat it as if it was your house as we are determined to ensure that it is a facility that you and your children can visit with pride."

The park was last refurbished in 2010 at a cost of $121 million.

- Photos by Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer