Bournemouth Bath to get facelift
Leonard Green, the investor who has undertaken a multimillion-dollar renovation project at the Bournemouth Bath facilities in East Kingston, said a return to the old operational ways is what he describes as a "recipe for failure".
Green revealed plans to redevelop the facility into a multipurpose sports, arts, and entertainment complex, though the pool will remain an integral part of the transformation.
Green said that in the past, the pool was the only source of income for maintenance of the complex, but he believes that to keep it from returning to a similar state, more than swimming is needed. He added that the upgrade will include attractions such as restaurants, an amphitheatre, a board-walk, and a multipurpose court.
"When you look at the investment in the pool and the possible returns, you see why it continued to fail. So we widened the scope to make sure we have sustainable involvement and activities, and we are looking at the three major components, arts, sports and entertainment," he said.
The pools at Bournemouth have been the centre of its history, and Green said that it would continue to play a major part in the facility's activities. "We look at sports. We have a playing field and a netball court, which can be a multi-purpose court. The pool is very integral because it remains of major infrastructural value. The maintenance cost is very high, but in terms of engaging the youths and developing skills, it's really a low-cost activity. They just need time, training, and maintenance of the pool," he said.
The former Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association president said that like many citizens, he was concerned about the facility's state, with windows shattered, electrical wiring looted, and bathroom facilities destroyed. The complex's surroundings are also in need of bushing and are littered with faeces. However, after obtaining a lease from the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation earlier this year, Green has done extensive renovation and has set a two-year timeline to complete the project, but he is looking to complete it in phases.
MORE CORRECTIVE WORK TO DO
"We have done a lot of work, but there is still a lot of corrective work left. It is going to be a multiyear project, and we decided to phase the development. This year, we will focus on rehabilitating the pools for the summer so we can have some summer activities. We have finished the conference room, we are doing the amphitheatre, and the bathrooms are almost finished. All this should be finished by September, and by Christmas, we want to finish some other things," he stated.
Meanwhile, Green, who is funding the project singlehandedly, is seeking commitments to ensure the continuous usage of the facility, and he said that the residents have given their word to protect and maintain the complex. "We are seeking a strategic relationship with the Caribbean Maritime Institute, the University of the West Indies, and others for the utility of the pool, and as a feature of our arrangement and relationship with the community, they will have the place to host events," he added.