Every parish deserves to have a recreational green space it can call its own. Recreational activities are important in the growth and development of communities. Community members long for a secure place where they can relax, play sports, have a family day out and enjoy themselves. One such place is Brooks Park in the cool cool hills of Mandeville.
Brooks Park, on the outskirts of Mandeville, Manchester is named after Stanley Edwin Brooks, J.P., businessman and politician. Through Brooks’ proposals, which were carried through by the Parish Council, the land for this park was acquired. Over the years, due to economic constraints, the park fell into disrepair and neglect. However, this has changed with the new vision and energy emanating from the Manchester Parish Council. A new management strategy has been put in place to see a return to the glory days of Brooks Park. The council has embarked on a rehabilitation program which involves a new layout of the park and the accompanying amenities.
Chairperson of the Brooks Park Development Management Board, Dr. Clifton Reid, said that actual work on the park began some months ago.Brooks Park is a 38-acre property situated on Wint Road, in Mandeville, and owned by the Manchester Parish Council. In recent times, eight acres have been leased to three entities - the Manchester Horticultural Society - which has used its acreage for the Horticultural Showground; the Ministry of Education, which leased the land to house the Mandeville Infant School; and the Lions Club of Mandeville, which has set up its Health and Civic Centre.
Dr. Reid said that the development of Brooks Park will be done in five phases, with phase one expected to cost approximately $20 million. This will consist of an amphitheatre, a family picnic area, a kiddies area and a multi-purpose court.
He pointed out that assistance is expected from Members of Parliament in Manchester, Finance and Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, Peter Bunting, Dean Peart and Michael Peart.
"In the first phase, we hope to complete the amphitheatre, a family picnic area, a kiddies area and an all purpose court. The amphitheatre should cost about $5 million. So, the funds from the Members of Parliament would go primarily to start the amphitheatre," he said.The other four phases of the development will consist of a mini stadium, to seat between 10,000 and 15,000 persons; cycle and athletic tracks, shops, a civic centre, an indoor arena to capture most of the major sports, a heated indoor swimming pool, a pond, and a youth information centre.
Dr. Reid noted that the entire project is slated to be completed in 20 years, but with proper funding, the project could be finished within five years.Her Worship the Mayor of Mandeville Councillor Brenda Ramsay, said that the Manchester Parish Council decided to make the revitalisation of Brooks Park the a priority as Mandeville is currently lacking in a proper recreational area."This facility can become something that all of us in Manchester and the region and Jamaica at large can be proud of," she said.