GRANGE HILL, Westmoreland — The Sports Development Foundation (SDF) is to reconstruct the Belle Isle playfield in Grange Hill, Westmoreland, at a cost of $11 million.

According to SDF's chief engineer Terry Montaque work on the project is expected to start within days and is expected to last for about seven months.

“The project will include site clearance, fencing, the laying of top soil and installation of an irrigation system,” Montague told the Jamaica Observer West on Tuesday.

He noted that the field, when upgraded, will become the home ground for the nearby Grange Hill High School which is without a proper playfield.

He stressed, however, that area residents will have access to the facility.

Making his maiden contribution in the State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives last week, Member of Parliament Westmoreland Western Morland Wilson noted that the upgraded field will greatly assist Grange Hill High students and the wider community.

“I am happy to report to this Honourable House and to my constituents that the Sport Development Foundation will commence a project at the Belle Isle playfield in the Grange Hill Division under a programme known as the High School Sport Infrastructure Improvement Programme. The programme, Madame Speaker, was designed for former sugar-dependent areas and is funded by the European Union under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. I want to thank the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport for identifying the Belle Isle playfield project as it will greatly assist the Grange Hill High School and the wider community,” Wilson told the House.

He added that he has also written to SDF, requesting that they develop appropriate plans, policies and programmes for three other playgrounds in his constituency — Blackness and Prospect playfields, both in Friendship, and the Allan Rae Oval in Sheffield.

Wilson on Tuesday expressed confidence that the SDF will respond favourably to his proposal, as he stressed the importance of sporting activities in the constituency.

“Several of the communities in the constituency have a high crime rate, so I believe that if we engage the youths through sports that will help to reduce crime,” said Wilson, adding that “ taking part in sport can help us feel healthier and mentally strong.”

The first-time MP told the Observer West that the upgrading of the four playfields in the constituency would complement the recently opened Negril Mini Stadium, also in the constituency.

From the Jamaica Observer