Call for community centre in St Barnabas

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Ruth Sandiford, who regularly maintains this empty space in her community, is asking for the building of a community park in its place. (JRN)

Two St Barnabas residents are appealing for the creation of a community centre for recreational use in their neighbourhood.

Ruth Sandiford and Barbara Moseley are among the residents of 8th Avenue St Barnabas, St Michael who are requesting a community park to be built in an unused open space on the roadside.

 “In here so is an open spot. Then they got it with bare bush and there so, if we could get a park built there so… we’d like if we could have something for our community

“We have to leave here and go down in the Ivy and the Pine and down in people play park every time, and we shouldn’t be doing that kind of thing….we in St Barnabas we shouldn’t be going by nobody play park,” she said.

Sandiford was previously featured on the Wednesday Woman column of the MIDWEEK NATION’s November 21, 2021 edition. The mother and former Swan Street Vendor, who sold bracelets, chains, and earrings made of beads, was then praised for her presence within the St Barnabas Community.

Taking up rakes, weed whackers, and whichever tools are necessary she cleans up several areas in the neighbourhood that are full of litter, or overgrown with bush with the help of her neighbour Barbara Moseley.

Moseley who has been living in St Barnabas for 40 years, she said when she first moved to the area the open space was filled with trash.

“All here, all the trees. The overgrown trees, the bush, all the rocks, all the old stove, the galvanize. When I start to dig and make the garden I pull out parts of an old Vauxhall Viva car…steering wheel.

“The only thing I didn’t take up from the side of there is a dead, everything I clean and turn it over and turn it over until I get it to what you see here,” Moseley.

Beyond the process of maintaining a clean space they hold hope that the park would replace the open space which they say is largely unused except for the people who often dump their garbage into the high grass.

When contacted, general manager of the National Conservation Commission Ryan Als advised the residents to submit a formal request for the creation of a park as the best course of action.

“They would have to write the general manager requesting assistance with developing it. The general manager will make the recommendation to the board, and the board will determine based on the request. But it must be reasonable, we cannot commit to maintaining private property for an extended period.

“We can assist with developing but they will have to have some plan in place to maintain it going forward. We do have some community teams that we put out there, but those are on contract, and their contracts are not infinitum. So I cannot commit resources which we don’t have…. there is a limit to what we can do,” said Als.

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