Bodden town welcomes new park

The opening of the Harry McCoy Sr. Park at Bodden Town took place on Saturday

The afternoon included entertainment for all the family with refreshments, live music, bouncy castles and face-painting.

The park was officially opened by Governor Stuart Jack, Minister Charles Clifford, Minister Anthony Eden and Mr. Osbourne Bodden, MLAs for Bodden Town, Sandy Urquhart on behalf of the Dart Foundation, and Harry McCoy Sr.’s sons, Harwell Jr., Kerith, Rupert and Edward Solomon.

Sadly, Mr. McCoy Sr. passed away while the park was being dedicated in his honour.

The park at Bodden Town is the fifth in the series of Growing Communities district parks created in partnership by the Dart Foundation and the Cayman Islands Government. In common with all the district parks, the park at Bodden Town is notable for its use of indigenous plants and trees and the attention given to providing a natural habitat for the local wildlife. Much of the original vegetation has been left in place, while a freshwater pond, which provides a sanctuary for birds, has been incorporated into the design.

Just coming into bloom this month, the flowers of logwood trees and pink pouis provide a colourful setting and help to attract the many varieties of butterflies that live in the park, while fruit trees such as mango, almond, guinep and tamarind are popular with bees and bats.

‘We are working with the National Trust to build three bat houses,’ says Anand Adapa, senior nursery manager responsible for the landscaping of the park. ‘There are nine different species of bat in Cayman Islands, each with a different role in the ecosystem and some of them very rare.’

At the pond, there is a viewing platform where birdwatchers can see whistling ducks, moorhens and Cayman parrots, aided by a plaque identifying the different species. In the cool shade underneath the platform is a picnic table, with a barbeque grill nearby. There are picnic tables dotted throughout the park, and a chequers board in the shade of an almond tree.

‘Each of the parks has been individually tailored to suit the district in which they are located,’ said Mr. Urquhart, senior vice president of design for Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd. ‘The Harry McCoy Sr. park reflects the quality of the natural environment that so personifies the district of Bodden Town. It provides the amenities of an urban park, but in truth is an unspoiled habitat which we hope will encourage residents and visitors to build a close affinity with nature.’

The park is off Gun Square Road, next to Mission House. It incorporates Nurse Josie’s Senior Centre, a place created by the Bodden Town community for the district’s older persons to share their heritage and socialise. It represents hundreds of years of history, with the centre of the house made of wattle and daub, and it sits on its original iron wood posts.

‘Visitors may be interested to know that the neaseberry tree next to the centre and the guinep tree near the restrooms are over 100 years old,’ said Ms Mary Bodden, a senior citizen and resident of Bodden Town.

Younger visitors are also well catered for with a large adventure playground at the entrance of the park.

The opening day celebrations included refreshments with compliments from the Dart Foundation, face painting, a colouring competition, popcorn and cotton candy machines, bouncy castle, speeches and ribbon-cutting.