Ms Deserene’s dream still alive

Park planned for WB kids

It was about three years ago that a
group of West Bay residents came together with local police to clean up a
vacant piece of land at the corner of Watercourse and Boatswain Bay Roads on
the north side of the district.

The land, across the street from
Super C Restaurant was a known hang-out for loiterers and drug-users, and the
problem still persists today, despite the cleanup effort and routine maintenance
done by Cayman’s Parks and Cemeteries Unit.

But not for much longer, according
to the vacant property’s owner Deserene Miller.

Ms Miller wants to create a park on
the now cleared land, complete with a fence, swing set, perhaps even a small
building or play field for the neighbourhood kids to enjoy.

The Cayman Brac native, who lived
in West Bay as a child and moved there again in 1999, said she was recently
encouraged to revitalise the park project after February’s slaying of
four-year-old Jeremiah Barnes at the Hell Esso petrol station. Jeremiah would
sometimes come to the park area to play, she said.

Since then, ply board signs have
been purchased and planted into the south side of the small open field facing
the Super C property across the street – separating the park from the bar next
door.

“Life has options and you don’t
have to follow the examples around you,” Ms Miller said. “You can choose to
walk on the other side of the board.”

For most of the summer,
neighbourhood kids – led by budding West Bay artiste Miyah Seymour – have been
out on the weekends painting pictures on the boards facing the street.

Ms Miller hopes the art – some
drawn by local artist Dareen Scott – will serve a twofold purpose. First, it
can brighten up the place and hopefully catch the eye of visitors that pass by
daily on tour buses.

Second, it will give the children
in the area something to do at the park.

“If we paint all of the boards,
well, we can paint over them and paint them again,” said Ms Miller, who admits
to having no artistic painting skills herself. “We all have fun and you can
actually see the confidence and pride in the kids when they sign their names in
the corner of each painting.”

Miyah Seymour, 11, quickly points
out her drawings and name in the corner of each of the ply boards. There are at
least four paintings with her signature on them.

“On this one here, some of the kids
came along and messed it up,” Miyah said. “It looked good but the kids just
scribble-scrabbled all over it.”

Another re-painting project, perhaps?

But Ms Miller said there needs to
be more for the children to do. There’s a small garden with trees at one end of
the park area and another end with larger trees to provide shade, but very
little in the way of recreation.

She’s asking any local contractors
who might be interested in helping out to pitch in and build a swing-set
perhaps, or a jungle-gym. A play field could also be opened up, but the first
thing the area needs is a fence around it to keep cars from parking on the grass.

“It’s my dream to have it fenced
with a beautiful Caymanian rock wall and have swing sets, basketball hoops,
benches and ultimately a Cayman-style house which can be used as a multipurpose
hall,” she says.

The park area still has a long way to go. Ms Miller asks anyone
interested in contributing to the project in any way to call her at 916-7515.

LOCALDeserenesdreamSTORY

Standing by the newly installed park art in West Bay are (from left, standing) Deserene Miller, Miyah Seymour, Dareen Scott, and kneeling are Devon and Tevon Kelly.
Photo: Brent Fuller
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