Sun | May 26, 2024

Rotary Club, partners gift Boys’ Town much-needed system to keep fields lush

Published:Monday | March 13, 2023 | 1:03 AMAsha Wilks/Gleaner Writer
From left: Stephen Jones, senior technical officer, Konnexx, and Charles Reid, solar manager, Konnexx, explain how the pump works to water the Boys’ Town playing fields to Raymond Connell, past president, University District Rotary Club of Seattle; Nicol
From left: Stephen Jones, senior technical officer, Konnexx, and Charles Reid, solar manager, Konnexx, explain how the pump works to water the Boys’ Town playing fields to Raymond Connell, past president, University District Rotary Club of Seattle; Nicole Gordon, president, Rotary Club of St Andrew; Audley Deidrick, past president, Rotary Club of St Andrew; and Ezra Teshome, district governor, Rotary International. The occasion was the Rotary Club of St Andrew’s official handover of the well-water system for the Father Sherlock Well in Boys’ Town last Thursday.
The sprinklers are activated during the commissioning and handover ceremony to water the playing field in Boys’ Town last Thursday.
The sprinklers are activated during the commissioning and handover ceremony to water the playing field in Boys’ Town last Thursday.
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The Boys’ Town sports field in Trench Town will no longer be solely dependent on a downpour of rain to remain in a lush state suitable for use by football and cricket clubs. This as the first stage of a three-part, multimillion-dollar, solar-powered well water system is now in operation.

The system, which was made possible through a partnership among the Rotary Club of St Andrew; the University District Rotary Club (UDRC) of Seattle, Washington; and Rotary International will not only provide irrigation water for landscaping purposes, but will also supply bathroom facilities and the surrounding grounds.

The sprinkler system will receive some 200 gallons of water per minute from a well that is 100 feet deep.

Trevor Spence, the chief executive officer of Boys’ Town Kingston, told The Gleaner that the field had gone seven years without a water system as the organisation was unable to cover the expense of maintaining the prior electric pump, given that the monthly light bills ranged from $80,000 to $200,000.

He said that this project, which has an overall price tag of US$150,000, has helped to solve the dust problem, which emanated from the deteriorating field, which has lost its topsoil.

The “dust bowl”, as he described it, was a nuisance to the community.

The second stage of the project is expected to provide potable water to serve some 3,000 individuals daily, through the Boy’s Town Primary and Infant School and the HEART/NSTA Trust vocational training school for sports, agricultural and landscaping, cultural, and other educational and club activities.

Past president of the Rotary Club of St Andrew for 2020-2021, Audley Deidrick, stated that the execution of this project, which has been in the pipeline for the past three years, was made a reality “through commitment and perseverance supported by cooperation and collaboration”.

“Many sports complexes cannot meet the electricity cost, coupled with the availability of water to maintain their complexes. This project addresses both those problems,” he said.

Other key partners in the project include Can-Cara Development Limited (CDL), the Rotary Foundation, Friends of Jamaica Seattle (FOJS), the CHASE Fund, the CB Facey Foundation, South St Andrew Member of Parliament Mark Golding, and the Bob Marley Foundation.

“This was the work of God,” declared Raymond Connell, former president of the UDRC and president of the Friends of Jamaica Seattle, during his remarks.

Connell expressed that God “ordered every step of the way” as the project went through its various stages and continues to undergo more phases.

“It is not just a community centre, but real people with real stories live here and those stories need to be told,” he said, adding that Boys’ Town was once a powerhouse and that aspiring youths with potential remain in the community and needed an opportunity to grow in their ambitions.

“Our steps were ordered by God and when God puts something in motion, no man, no matter how mighty and powerful you are, can move that,” Connell added.

Boys’ Town was established in 1940 as a partnership with the Government of Jamaica, civil society groups, including the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Methodist Church, service clubs, the private sector, and community, local and international donors.

asha.wilks@gleanerjm.com