Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Gordon Pen sports complex to be ready by 2023

Published:Wednesday | July 28, 2021 | 12:07 AMRasbert Turner/Gleaner Writer
From left: Workmen Akeem Henry, Dewight Collings, and Melvin Tulloch construct a perimeter wall at an open lot in Gordon Pen, St Catherine, that will serve as a new sports complex in honour of West Indies Women’s cricket team captain Stafanie Taylor and
From left: Workmen Akeem Henry, Dewight Collings, and Melvin Tulloch construct a perimeter wall at an open lot in Gordon Pen, St Catherine, that will serve as a new sports complex in honour of West Indies Women’s cricket team captain Stafanie Taylor and late footballer Tremaine Stewart.
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The community of Gordon Pen in St Catherine is set to benefit from an upgraded sporting facility courtesy of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF).

An initial sum of $35 million has been allocated for the early phases of the project, but the final estimate has not been disclosed.

Minister of Sport Olivia Grange said that her ministry supports the use of sports as a tool for social change.

Grange, who is also member of parliament for the St Catherine Central constituency, said Gordon Pen deserves an approved area for sports development to build on its legacy.

“We have for a long time seen the abundance of talent that comes out of Central St Catherine, and Gordon Pen, in particular. We have the likes of Stafanie Taylor and the late Tremaine Stewart, so we are making an attempt to pay respects to their achievements,” Grange said of the West Indies Women’s cricketer and the Jamaica senior team footballer.

Stewart collapsed while playing football in Monkey Town, Gordon Pen, on April 18, and died moments later. A proposal has also been floated at the St Catherine Municipal Corporation for a road in Gordon Pen to be renamed in his honour.

The sports complex will have multipurpose courts with asphaltic finishing and other modern amenities.

“It will have proper changing rooms, bathrooms, and a properly levelled field. We intend to have netball, football, and athletic competitions here, therefore, it will be built to approved standards,” Grange said.

The sport minister said that discussions are under way for the naming of the facility, but it is clear that Stewart and Taylor are among the front runners.

“There are many talents that come from this area,” she said. “The facility is located next to the Eltham Park Primary School where Tremaine and Stafanie attended.”

Workmen have been busy erecting an eight-foot concrete perimeter wall, with chain-link fencing to be installed later for crowd control.

SDF General Manager Denzil Wilks said preparation of the football field will get under way in the next phase.

That process is expected to last six months, but Wilks cautioned that adverse weather conditions and access to water could delay those works by more than a year.

Wilks anticipates the sports complex to be completed by 2023.

Councillor George Moodie has praised the authorities for investing in sports development in Gordon Pen.

“This facility is a great addition to our community, as it is where the youth dem come and exercise for football every day. Tremaine Stewart was playing here when he collapsed and later died, therefore, the adjustments to it (the field) are welcome,” Moodie told The Gleaner.

rasbert.turner@gleanerjm.com