Thousands welcome Dart Park

The Dart Family Park on South Church Street opened with a festive ceremony Saturday in George Town.

More than 1,200 people representing a wide cross-section of the population attended the event that featured free T-shirts, face painting, balloons and refreshments.

The park became the fourth to open under the Growing Communities initiative, a public/private partnership to develop parks in each of Grand Cayman’s five districts.

In the opening remarks of the ceremony, Governor Bruce Dinwiddy said the park was a perfect example of the public and private sector working together for the betterment of the community.

Dart Foundation and Dart family representative Ariane Dart said the Growing Communities partnership has been an excellent opportunity to work with Government on a project.

‘The Dart Foundation prefers to support endeavours, which will provide meaningful educational and growth opportunities for the communities in which we are involved.’

Mrs. Dart said the Dart Foundation makes donations in different ways.

‘In this case, we’re trying to create a place to come to enjoy nature and to build family bonds,’ she said. ‘We hope this park will enrich life in Cayman for everyone.’

The George Town park follows the ones opened in West Bay, East End and North Side. A fifth district park in Bodden Town is scheduled to be opened by the end of the year.

Mrs. Dart said she often takes visiting guests to the parks.

‘I love going to the parks,’ she said. ‘I’m really proud of them.’

Mrs. Dart emphasised the family aspects of the parks, and in particular, the effect the parks can have on youths.

‘Hopefully, the parks will create memories the children will never forget,’ she said.

The George Town park is the only one that bears the Dart name.

‘Thank you for the honour of naming the George Town district park after the Dart family,’ Mrs. Dart said. ‘We are humbled by this gracious and kind gesture, and remain very appreciate of the decision made by the Government to do so.’

Appreciation came mutually from Government.

‘Thank you, thank you, thank, thank you, thank you,’ said Minister of Community Services Frank McField in his brief remarks for the occasion.

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush echoed the appreciation.

‘On behalf of the Government and the people of Cayman, please convey my heartfelt thanks to your organisation,’ Mr. Bush said to the Dart Foundation representatives. ‘You are making a profound contribution to the betterment of the quality of life for all who call the Cayman Islands home. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.’

Mr. Bush praised Mr. McField for insisting on having the park on the oceanfront land.

‘There are some who thought that this land could have been used for something else, but Dr. Frank forged ahead. He said the district needed such a facility.’

As part of the day’s festivities, the West Indian Club Nursery distributed 500 seedlings of the plant commonly called the Broombush False Willow, which is listed as extinct.

The Nursery found one of the plants growing in Little Cayman in 1999 and started propagating the plant afterwards.

‘We are delighted to be able to share these seedlings to help rejuvenate its population in the world as well as add to the beauty of our island,’ said Mrs. Dart.