A new BMX riding and skatepark is set to open next month in Boston, Portland, the first of its kind in the eastern end of the island, organiser and former professional BMX rider Darryl Munroe has said.
The park, which is expected to cover 500 square metres, will be located at Boston Community Centre.
A team of 20 people from overseas is expected to arrive in the island shortly to begin work on the project.
Already, the team has raised US$25,000, with a goal in mind of US$30 to US$40,000. When completed, it will be free of cost to the public.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer North & East last Wednesday, Munroe explained the reason he decided to embark on this crowdfunding venture.
“I was born in London, [United Kingdom], but I was raised here since I was three years old. We started riding here around 1983 when I was in high school and basically, it was the beginning period of BMX. So, we ended up being the first generation of riders and skaters in the Portland and Kingston area... I eventually left in 1992 for London to try and explore the possibilities of my BMX abilities and things like that. I was travelling around Europe — Denmark, Sweden, Germany — doing competitions. I eventually got back here in 2015 to realise that nothing happened since I left.
“I took [it] on myself since I was riding on a professional level. I realised that something had to be done, so [I] started looking somewhere and realised that I could use the community centre up here so I went straight to them and asked for permission at the Boston Community Centre and they loved the idea straight away,” Munroe, 49, disclosed.
He said plans began immediately with his contacts in Denmark, called Wonders Around the World (WAW).
WAW is a non-profit, international and independent organisation of highly skilled skateboarders, builders, architects, engineers, and entrepreneurs who volunteer to manifest projects.
“This the first time they are actually collaborating with BMX... So they're going to be turning up here in September, after months of planning, to make sure that we get this done by the end of September. So they're going to be here from the 6th to the 30th of September. So by the 30th, everything should be done,” said Munroe.
He is hoping that the reintroduction of the sport to Boston will keep children in the community active and off the streets.
“It'll allow them to train and become something that they didn't have a clue that they could become. [They] could become an athlete in the Olympics, so that's one of the things they can train for. It's also an individual sport so you literally can just come and ride and be the best you can be. It pushes your mindset and your ability. It gets you out of trouble. It's open to everyone,” said Munroe.