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This one's for the children - Family park to be erected in downtown Kingston to aid child development

Published:Thursday | May 5, 2016 | 5:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
From left: Xavier Silvera, student of the St Hugh’s Preparatory School; Angela Brown Burke, mayor of Kingston; Denzil Thorpe, permanent secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Community Development; Ashley Jarrett, student, Wolmer’s Preparatory School; and Paulette Mitchell, project manager, CHASE Fund, view the model of the family park on Tuesday.

Kingston's mayor, Dr Angela Brown Burke, said the family park to be erected in downtown Kingston is a signal of the nation's commitment to give children a wholesome environment in which to grow and fulfil their potential.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony at the St William Grant Park in downtown Kingston on Tuesday, Brown Burke disclosed that the full project was estimated to cost in excess of $50 million. The Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, and Education (CHASE) Fund will be underwriting a major portion of the cost of the project to the tune of $20.7 million.

The mayor said children's development would be a major aspect of the park.

"Our family park will not only be a place of fun, relaxation, and togetherness. It will also re-emphasise the celebration and importance of the family, where parents and children, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, religious organisations, students, and adults will come to enjoy the facility and feel a sense of belonging, a sense of pride, and a sense of love," she said.

" ... Where children of all ages will come to play, and they will learn through play: developing social and cognitive skills as they learn how to be kind to one another, how to look out for each other, how to negotiate their differences; gaining self-confidence as they master new skills and teach others what they know," the mayor continued.

 

PROMOTING LOVE FOR HERITAGE

 

She further stated that the construction, which will include a mosaic space, a reggae avenue, a main family monument, a tuck shop, a walking trail, and a restroom facility, will provide a space for children to have a deeper appreciation of their heritage.

"This idea was born out of the necessity to have a facility for children and families in downtown Kingston, where families living in proximity wouldn't need to go very far to enjoy a world-class interactive park with distinctively thematic activities and play areas that are 'attention-grabbing' yet educational," Brown Burke said.

"It isn't by accident that as we commence celebrating Child Month, the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation is launching this major initiative to break ground with the CHASE Fund to commence the construction of the family park. The basic theme of our family park is based on our African heritage and our popular Jamaican music," she declared.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com