Eddie Hart Grounds and Golden Grove Savannah will soon be a regional sporting centre.
The Sports Company of T&T (SPORTT) has been mandated to develop this sporting hub to accommodate multi-purpose sporting surfaces and amenities, so that quality surfaces can be easily accessible to nationals wanting to participate in sporting activities, up and coming athletes through community clubs and groups, while retaining green spaces for casual recreational users, in a safe environment.
Facilities will include an international standard football field on the east ground with stadium lighting; an athletics track on the east ground with lighting; a 900-seat covered pavilion, with dedicated changing facilities for players, public toilets and concessionaire spaces, and an indoor sporting facility building that will contain:
a) 25m swimming pool
b) Open gymnasium area
c) Aerobics and Spin Class Area
d) Boxing and Martial arts area
e) Multi-purpose Court
f) Squash Area
g) Administrative Offices
h) Change room, Shower and Toilet Facilities.
There are also plans for an international standard cricket field on the west ground with stadium lighting; a dedicated jogging path on the east ground with lighting; two (2) small goal football courts with lighting and a children's play park with equipment.
A release from the Sports Company stated that the enhancement of the savannah was for sporting endeavours and will facilitate individuals who live in communities from San Juan to Arima who can use the established transport routes (Eastern Main Road and Priority Bus Route) to participate in sporting activities on upgraded fields and surfaces for cricket, football, netball and basketball. Additionally, there will be a 25m indoor swimming pool at the indoor facility which can be used to address the lack of water competency skills of many. Outside of the community swimming pool in Sangre Grande, this will be the only public (ie free) swimming pool along the East-West Corridor, making it a vital addition to the fitness and health needs of the communities in this area.
According to the release: "All of the areas on the western end of the facility including the play park, recreation/picnic area, jogging track and cricket field will not be fenced and will therefore encourage community use as currently obtains. The only proposed fenced areas will be the football field and its surrounding athletic training track as well as the indoor facility.
These are the only areas that will require some level of formal scheduling for structured sporting events, but as part of the daily operation, citizens will be free to access and use these amenities at any time."
The Sports Company is also examining the feasibility of setting up a community management committee drawn from the various interest groups to provide oversight for the entire ground/ centre once all works are completed. This is one way to ensure that the interests of the community will always be a priority.
Following recent consultations there were concerns raised by interest groups and current users of the savannah/grounds about the destruction of green space to erect concrete structures. However, almost 85 percent of total area under development will be grassed.
In order to address other key areas of the concern the following adjustments have been proposed.
These adjustments include:
phasing of construction to minimise interruption to ongoing sporting activities
increased width and length of jogging/running track to accommodate the large volume of casual athletes
use of eco-friendly, permeable materials for the car park for drainage purposes
preservation of water sources in the construction phase and the conservation of energy in the facility's operation
The proposed centre/ground is meant to benefit the largest possible number of persons as they engage in sport and physical recreation. Far from displacing current users or interrupting the free flow of breeze and green space, the intent is to create an aesthetically pleasing and functional area that citizens will enjoy for generations.
It is hoped that not only will persons be able to stay healthy but also that many successful elite athletes will get their start in Tacarigua. Ultimately, sport must become inimical to our culture and livelihood and this facility is one means of achieving this lofty goal.