Sports

Trench Town set to rock with Boys' Town Reggae Skatepark

Sunday, May 12, 2019

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At the mention of Boys' Town in the sporting realm, great tales of cricket and football exploits and performers, in particular, promptly comes to mind.

But this inner-city enclave that has also produced leading exponents of the Jamaca musical genres, including the king of reggae Bob Marley, is taking its sporting talents to new frontiers.

Soon Boys' Town, situated in the Trench Town community of south St Andrew, will be home to skateboarding lovers as the country's very first skatepark is set to be constructed courtesy of a 20-year lease.

The ground-breaking project will house an 18,000 to 25,000 square feet skatepark.

Jamaica Skatebord Federation (JSF) President Steve Douglas and members of the Trench Town/Boy's Town board agreed that given the “international brand” of the community, it would be an ideal location to construct a skatepark, and as such, inked a partnership to facilitate its development.

Approximately US$700,000 (about J$94 million) will be required to erect the 'Trench Town/Boys' Town Reggae Skatepark' on the west side of the Boys' Town compound, which houses the football and cricket pitches.

That sum is expected to cover the upgrading of the Youth Development Sports Centre also situated on the complex.

Douglas, who has been advocating for a skatepark to be constructed since introducing the sport to Jamaica, is overwhelmed with the agreement, which is the first step towards another historic achievement in the island.

“This has been long in coming and I am really excited about it. For one of our first major projects, this is enormous because Boys' Town/Trench Town has the cultural inspiration and we are really happy to have them on board to support us, so this is a really huge step for us.

“We have already spoken to California Skateparks, one of our main partners, and they are involved. They love this idea because it is a community-based project that will encourage other skateparks around Jamaica,” Douglas told the Jamaica Observer.

Work on the project, which was designed by the JSF and California Skateparks, is expected to begin in June with a tentative completion date of September.

The unique design of the park will see it comprising a full street course and a park series bowls for both skateboarding and BMX, as well as stairs, rails, bumps, half pipes and ledges. It will also accommodate roller skate (four thick wheels in two rows) and rollerblade (slim wheels in a single row) activities.

Once erected, Douglas believes the skatepark and sports centre will not only add impetus to the Boys' Town/Trench Town brand and Jamaica's chances of an Olympic qualification, but will also significantly impact the lives of the many young adults in the area.

“The Trench Town /Boys' Town Reggae Skatepark will be a huge platform to build Jamaica's skateboarding on as we seek to qualify for the Olympics and we believe it is going to impact Jamaican youths, both in and outside of the community. A skatepark in the community will also impact the international cultural brand of Trench Town/Boys' Town around the world,” Douglas reasoned.

Regarding financial support for the project, Douglas pointed out that the JSF will be using a crowd funding platform for donation and/or sponsorship details.

“We also have marketing options for individuals and corporate/private sectors to have their personal names or company name listed on the Trench Town/Boys' Town Reggae Skatepark wall of sponsors located on the backdrop of the skatepark. We want Jamaica to be a part of building this skatepark and so we are open to grants and corporate sectors who are interested in this iconic project,” Douglas noted.

Meanwhile, Christopher Stone, chief architect of Trench Town's Culture Yard, is also elated about having a skatepark to complement and evolve the social growth of the community.

“People think Trench Town has given all it has to give, and believe me it has given Jamaica and the world a whole lot. But there is a lot more in store, and through Boys' Town, Trench Town is about to wake up more serious latent athletic talent through skateboarding. There is so much energy in the community, that from this skatepark will emerge Jamaica's gold medal Olympic team,” Stone opined.

Junior Lincoln is one of the members of the Trench Town community board that gave the initiative its full endorsement by making the land available, as it forms part of an overall development plan for the Boys' Town stadium.

“We are very excited by it and we feel so confident that it is going to do well,” Lincoln declared.

– Sherdon Cowan


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