WESTERN SPORTS - Westmoreland FA closes in on dream facility
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Big things are happening in Westmoreland football these days, and the parish's football association boss, Everton Tomlinson, is buzzing with anticipation and excitement as he laid out plans for their new, sprawling complex, still under construction, at Llandilo, Savanna-la-Mar.
THE FA recently acquired approximately five acres of land located adjacent to the current Llandilo playing field and bordered by the long out-of-use Llandilo Cultural Centre to the north.
Based on the plans, it appears only a matter of time before it assumes the role as the home of football in the parish, displacing Frome Sports Complex, which has been central to Premier League aspirants Reno FC, former campaigners Savannah SC, and a plethora of other clubs and school teams.
"When this is completed, the public will see a well-designed, greatly laid out football and culture complex right here in the town of Savanna-la-Mar," Tomlinson said.
As it was strapped for cash, the association entered into a 30-year lease agreement with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), with plans to have aspects of the facility double as an entertainment, recreation, and culture park.
"It's a lease arrangement that we went into with much eagerness because we have been waiting forever to get this project off the ground, and finally, it is now a reality," beamed Tomlinson.
"For many years, the Westmoreland FA has been negotiating, planning this move, and it is finally happening. The people, supporters of football and players across the parish, will be happy when the additions are completed," he said.
In addition to work on expanding the facility to include the reorientation of the current playing field, the FA will be adding one playing field, a multi-purpose court for netball, basketball, and volleyball, and a synthetic running track. All this is to complement the almost-completed office building, to which Andrew Buddan of Tyre Warehouse has contributed close to $3 million.
In spite of the tremendous amount of work already done, however, Tomlinson's ambitious dream will require an additional sum of US$20, and some of this money, he hopes, will come from the political representatives in the parish.
"Our MP, Roger Clarke, has promised to do something for us. It's a promise long in coming, but he is a man of his word, so I am hoping that we see some movement on that," said Tomlinson.
"I have pitched the plans to two other MP's, Luther Buchanan and Dr Wykeham McNeill, and indeed the prime minster, who promised to help. So I am also hoping she, too, will look to contribute because the facility is not a Central Westmoreland thing, it will belong to all Westmoreland.
"The people of the parish deserve a decent, well-put-together place for sports, and sadly, Frome has lost that, and in fact, I am uncertain as to the future of the Frome Sports Complex, even though there are longstanding plans to fix it up," said Tomlinson.