The City of Freeport Council (CFC) officially opened the Wellington Pinder Heights Community Park, on Saturday, March 27, beginning with the first of what is expected to be three phases.
Named in honor of the late Rev. Wellington Pinder, the recreational park was one of CFC’s major projects for the area, spearheaded by representing Council Member Frazette Gibson.
Speaking on behalf of the Pinder family, the late Rev. Pinder’s daughter Evelyn Pinder-Dames, noted that the family extended gratitude to Gibson and the organizers of the event, "for the invitation to participate in the opening ceremony of the beautiful park."
“We are truly honored to be here to celebrate the legacy of our father. This man of God knew the right way. He had a willing heart to lead the right way and as a result, directed others in the right way. Our father was a man who loved the people throughout the island. Although he has left us now, for some 12 years, his presence is still with us.
“On this very special day, we are so proud to celebrate with you. We will cherish this park, along with the people of this community, and look forward with great anticipation to the next two phases,” Pinder-Dames said.
She noted that in these challenging times, everyone must do their part to help their brothers and sisters.
“God expects and admonishes us to be our brother’s keepers. We wish you success in your endeavor, as you continue to make a difference in this community. It is our prayer that this park will bring great joy to all persons in the community and even those outside of the community,” Pinder-Dames shared.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Iram Lewis, member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama, where the park is located noted that it was his pleasure to be a part of the opening, only weeks after his new appointment as minister.
“I have to commend the City of Freeport Council and, especially, Councilwoman Frazette Gibson. Thank you for your foresight and determination in bringing this project to fruition. I can appreciate their efforts as only a short time back we teamed up to create a similar park, the Bernard “Spinks” Rolle Community Park in the neighboring Sunset Subdivision.
“Ever since the advent of elected Local Government back in the 1990s, the Freeport City Council has taken on the challenge of creating parks and playgrounds throughout the City of Freeport and properly maintaining them. And again, they ought to be commended for their caring attitude and for their service to the Bahamian people,” Lewis said.
“The park comes, I am told, after negotiations with the Ministry of Housing, more than four years ago, for permission to develop the land in this beautiful government subdivision. While permission was granted more than four years ago for the project, we all know of the onslaught of Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19, which slowed the project.”
He added that the Government of The Bahamas is committed to outfitting parks and playgrounds throughout the country for both young and old to enjoy.
“Let me say here that this government is committed to the development of parks, playgrounds and green spaces throughout this country. It is senseless to talk about developing communities and having no recreational facilities. Gone are those days, and I can promise that as your Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture, we will have parks and playgrounds for recreational activities," he pledged.
Serving as moderator for the event, Gibson, Councilor for Central Grand Bahama acknowledged the following: “Residents, children, the community, Local Government, all benefit from having nearby park and play space. However, for your community to reap the full benefits of park and recreation areas, they must form strong partnerships with all stakeholders with special emphasis on engaging the members of the community.”
Gibson noted that she is excited in getting the second phase of the project underway.
CFC Chief Councilor Kendall Culmer added: “This is the backbone of our nation. It takes a village to raise a child and this is one of the assets that is needed to keep the community together.
“I would like to see the people within this neighborhood take care of it (park). This is not City Council’s park, this is the community park. The residents here own this park and they must take pride in it, in its upkeep. It is a team effort. City Council did not just partake in the finances behind this, we went out to some private citizens and it was a group effort. Let us continue that group effort. Residents please take full charge and ownership of this.
“The City Council plans on putting a fully functional Community Center out here that will be built, owned and fully operated by the City Council. We intend, in the future, to add other parks in the City of Freeport. We are now in the process of teaming up with the Member of Parliament for Marco City (Michael Pintard), and putting a park in Mayfield Park. All-in-all, we plan on putting a park in every community, for community building,” Culmer said.
Also present for the event were Members of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, and Marco City, K. Peter Turnquest and Michael Pintard, respectively; and Administrator for the City of Freeport Council, Kathy Smith.