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Work on upgrading St John’s Field beginning to take shape

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The St John's Field playing surface is being relaid as part of an upgrade project at the field that will take two years and include a new clubhouse (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Work recently began on upgrading the field at St John’s Field, a project being undertaken by neighbour Gorham’s that will also include the clubhouse as part of an arrangement with Western Stars Sports Club.

The upgrading of the grounds will take about two years, with Devarr Boyles, the club president, excited about the improvements that are on the horizon, which will enable the West Pembroke community to have greater access to the facilities for health and fitness.

St. John's Field, where upgrade work is being carried out by Gorham’s (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
The clubhouse corner of St. John's Field, which is prone to flooding during heavy rain (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
St. John's Field, dug up recently and soon to be relaid as part of a redevelopment project at the club (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“We’re extremely excited, it’s been a long time to bring this to fruition and a lot of people have done work over the years,“ Boyles said of a project that was first talked about in 2018 when Gorham’s approached the Government with its proposal.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, spoke of Gorham’s vision when the project was officially launched at a press conference held on St John’s field in February by the Government, Gorham’s and Western Stars Sports Club.

“It was an easy decision for me to make when Gorham’s first wrote in December 2018 to propose an arrangement that would benefit both their business and Western Stars,” Burch said that day.

“Simply stated, Gorham’s want access to an unused densely overgrown strip of government-owned land for a new roadway to connect the front and back areas of the property. In exchange they will provide significant support and upgrades to the field and club operations.”

The ground closed to all cricket and football last year in anticipation of work starting in September. The ground will be closed for the next two years while the upgrade work is carried out on the field and then on the clubhouse.

“Now we can see it has started and everyone is getting excited,” Boyles said. “We’re turning it over and making it a real construction site now.

“We have cordoned off the area and turned it over to the Gorham’s personnel to go ahead and get on with the project. We’re over the moon!”

Boyles added: “Initially the start date was in September 2020, but the actual start didn’t happen until March 1, 2021. They said it would be two years, but we started in March instead of September, so we’re going to miss the [grass] growing season. It could be 2½ to three years.

“It’s still going to be a two-year period, and they’ll be finished in time if everything goes according to plan but we’ll miss the growing cycle. You have to allow the grass to mature with the rainy season in January, February, March.

“Everybody associated with the club is excited, even the area residents who are seeing things occur.”

The club’s cricket team will play their home matches this summer at Sea Breeze Oval, after the football team used nearby Goose Gosling Field for their home matches in the shortened football season.

“We have a signed a memorandum of understanding with Bailey’s Bay, a one-year agreement, and we’ll reassess to see if it is in the best interest of both clubs to continue,” Boyles said.

“We’re trying to get all clubs to work a little closer together. We might have resources this time around and somebody else might have resources next time.

“We have to get back to the roots of Bermuda, a sharing neighbourhood community. If both clubs benefit, then we’re hoping that other clubs join in similar partnerships in the interest of improving sport.

“Bermuda will be better for it.”

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Published April 05, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated April 04, 2021 at 9:12 pm)

Work on upgrading St John’s Field beginning to take shape

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