Traffic and infrastructural disruptions are expected in the area of Skinner Park, San Fernando, which is scheduled for redevelopment.
A landmark on the corner of Rienzi Kirton and Cipero Streets, the park will soon undergo major changes as phase one of San Fernando’s redevelopment project begins later this year.
At the sod-turning ceremony on Thursday, MP for the area, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, said this work is long overdue, as no major development had been done on the park or on San Fernando for almost 53 years.
“Skinner Park redevelopment project is focused on redevelopment. Ninety-three years ago, Skinner Park was gifted to the people of San Fernando… and for 53 years, San Fernando, except for a patch here and a coat of paint there, has not been developed.”
Its lack of development, he said, really changed when former PM Patrick Manning birthed the Southern Academy for Performing Arts (SAPA) and the San Fernando teaching hospital complex. The complex, he added, was originally meant to be an administrative building.
The projects are expected to create local employment within the region, using at least 40 per cent of the unskilled labour force. The start date was expected to be sometime in July, but this has been pushed back to an unconfirmed date later this year. When completed the area is expected to attract and promote business opportunities.
The first phase includes upgrading the cycling track, a pavilion with 6,000 seats, redesigned mayor’s box, corporate boxes, concessionaire stands, indoor multi-purpose courts, changing rooms and an outdoor basketball court with its own bleachers.
Phase two will include new parking facilities and enhancing the secondary playing field near the park. It will be done by York Structures at a cost of about $200 million and is scheduled to be completed within a year.
“The redevelopment of phase one and two allows us to accommodate the Cross Crossing vending, the street food, the service to our community, in one centralised, safe location,” Al-Rawi said.
"Contracts have already been awarded for additional projects that are also under way in other parts of San Fernando.”
These include, he said, “A four-lane highway between the link road and the waterfront, housing development in Embacadere and the development of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) compound into a structure like One Woodbrook Place.”
Also at the sod-turning were Manning successor as MP for San Fernando East, Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell; and mayor Junia Regrello.