Revitalizing Park Empowers Men

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March 08, 2021

As Jahman Delancy plasters the gazebo and concession stand at the historic Southern Recreation Grounds, the government’s redevelopment project is also helping to restore the 26-year-old’s dignity along with that of other young men in the Over-the-Hill community.

“I have to pay rent and put food on the table, so I’m really, really, highly grateful for the opportunity to have this job. It’s been really rough,” said Mr Delancy, a father to a three-month-old daughter.

Last year he lost his job at an event and occasions design and management company due to the pandemic. He was still weathering the economic fall-out from COVID-19 when he had a chance encounter with Stephano Curry, the 27-year-old owner of Maximum Building Construction Services.

The two-year-old company is renovating and upgrading the buildings on site – the historic gazebo, the two-story concession stand, and a bathroom block.

Mr Curry’s agreement with the project’s general contractor, Atillio Holdings Company Ltd., stipulates the employment of at least one individual from the community. Mr Delancy, a Hay Street resident, fit the bill. He possessed work experience in the field and lived a stone’s throw away.

“Some guys do not have anything to do. It’s beautiful to see them want to work, willing to work, instead of going out there and doing something that’s negative. It makes me feel good to help put food on the table of people in the community,” said Mr Curry.

Walking around the inner-city neighborhood, Mr Delancy began introducing his new boss to other young men struggling to find work.

“I give God thanks for the little I have and if I have it, I want to help someone else. I always remember when I needed help. I knew there were other guys out there who needed jobs and needed just as much strength and help as me. I didn’t want to be selfish. You shouldn’t be selfish. Each one, teach one. Help each other.”

Mr Curry took on another five men from the community, rounding out his workforce to 13 men at the Southern Recreation Grounds. Two of the new hires were dispatched outside the area to carry out roof repairs on another Maximum Building project.

For the small business owner, it was just another way to pay it forward.

“I appreciate this opportunity I’ve received because of the government, Atario Mitchell and Dominic Sturrup. They have given me such an opportunity, helped placed me on a platform to showcase my work and my business,” said Mr Curry.

“Atario Mitchell, he’s a young guy such as myself, to see him rise to such a level of success and pay it forward, I know someone had to help him along the way. Now he’s paying it forward by bringing young brothers up like myself. It gives me an overwhelming feeling to be a part of this project.”

There are 12 companies working under Atillio Holdings Company Ltd to restore the historic Southern Recreation Grounds to its former glory. Atillio is a subsidiary of the Bahamas Striping Group of Companies (BSGC) which got its start from a $5,000 grant from the government back in 2010.

“I know what it is to look for a job left, right and center. The path to getting us where we are now, as a company, was not an easy one. We faced tremendous hurdles. Whatever we can do to help spread the money around, to help persons provide for themselves and their families, we do it,” said Mr Mitchell, BSGC’s President.

According to BSGC’s chairman Dominic Sturrup, the company feels “obligated” to help develop other young Bahamian business owners once they’re able to meet the standard of work the company seeks. It wasn’t too long ago when BSGC was “David up against Goliath” forced to compete on an uneven playing field. Since then, the group of companies has completed over 200 projects.

“For us it’s an honor to be able complete Phase 1 of the Southern Recreation Grounds project. It brings a great sense of pride to be a part of both phases for such a historic site. It is an aggressive timeline to get the park completed but we expect to hit our deadline,” said Mr Sturrup.

Work on Phase 2 of Southern Recreation Grounds’ redevelopment began last month. The project consists of improvements to the limestone dug out areas, demolition of existing bleachers, construction of new bleacher seating and a retaining wall separating Phase 1 from the Blue Hill Rd Clinic/Lillian Coakley Library.

Phase 2 also includes installation of irrigation and drainage systems, re-sodding of the outfield, replacing the infield, installation of new safety netting along the perimeter of the playing field, installation of new foul ball poles and a customized electronic scoreboard. Atillio must also construct a new parking lot near the gazebo and redesign parking areas along Market and Cockburn Street.

One contractor wishing he had a bigger role to play in such an important recreational project is Theodore “Ted” Davis. The 52-year-old owner of Davis Heavy Metal said he is vested in the project.

Mr Davis started his business in 1987. He specializes in heavy structural welding and is associated with major projects such as IMAX, PMH’s Critical Care Block, the Straw Market and Quality Home Centre. It’s his first time working with Atillio Holdings.

His company was contracted to fabricate 104 columns. Up to Sunday, March 7, his nine-strong team of welders had produced and delivered 80 of them to the site.

“I was hoping for something like this for a long, long time. I told my guys we are doing this for us and getting paid to do this. Can you imagine getting paid to do something for yourself?” he asked.

“The section of the park that’s finished is beautiful and relaxing. Some of my guys have little kids coming up. This is somewhere they can take their children, so it’s always a great feeling to be a part of change and growth.”

Mr Davis is himself a product of the inner-city community. He grew up through Ross Corner, where his business is located. Many of his workers hail from the area, except for two who came to him from the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI).

He believes the area is long overdue for a transformation.

“We have too many old buildings. We need to take it one road at a time, remove all these old cars from the yards. You can be poor, but you don’t have to be nasty. You can keep your place clean. A project like this is great. I want it to be continuous. Once the park is completed, from there we could move into tearing down old buildings one at a time.”

Phase 2 of the South Recreation Grounds project is expected to be completed in May.

News date : 03/08/2021    Category : About Bahamians, Business, Press Releases

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