It was a double celebration for the communities of Prospect and Red Bay over the weekend.

The festivities marked the groundbreaking for the new Eddie Sanchez Community Park and the annual Christmas potluck party at the park’s new site.

“It is going to be more than a park, we see a lot of things happening here,” Sabrina Turner, Prospect Red Bay Community Group leader said in an interview with the Cayman Compass Monday.

The park project is a community effort which, she said, is being assisted through donations from, among others, members of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman and Joanna Boxall, who is donating trees for the green space.

The park, which will sit on six parcels of land between Victory Avenue and Prospect Drive, is expected to include a parking area, walking track, basketball court, a sand area and play equipment for children, cabanas for parties, and bathroom facilities. It was named in honour of late businessman Eddie Sanchez, who originally owned the land the park is being built on.

Turner said site preparation has started and she anticipated construction to begin within the coming months.

The project, she said, is expected to be completed by summer 2020.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is the Red Bay MLA, and Prospect MLA Councilor Austin Harris were both on hand for the groundbreaking and party.

McLaughlin said the project will be a community asset.

“I am delighted that we are able to get the construction of this park under way,” he told the Compass. “It is part of my government’s important policy initiatives to significantly increase the number and quality of public spaces for the enjoyment of our people and visitors.”

Harris told the Compass that he was also pleased the park was moving forward.

“While once upon a time Victory Avenue to Mangrove Avenue was considered Prospect, and across the roundabout was Old Prospect, with the introduction of single-member constituencies they were divided between Red Bay and Prospect. The park represents a bringing back together of the community into one and it will serve as a gathering place for all the community both young and old to enjoy,” Harris said.

The park project, spearheaded by the community group, has the full support of the area’s residents, Turner said.

“It means for once we can have a space where everyone can meet on neutral grounds. We plan to have a walking park, and [areas] for recreational purposes like basketball and volleyball. We intend to have the park be a national park at the end of the day,” she said, adding that everyone will be welcome to use the facilities.

Harris said every year the community gathers for a pre-Christmas party which is usually done potluck style with participants bringing dishes, including favourites like turkey with stuffing, roast pork and jerk pork, with heavy cakes provided by Melba Nixon.

McLaughlin also contributed his Cayman-style beef for the community event.

In addition, John Ebanks of the Lions Club demonstrated his cooking skills at the popular event.

The Regeneration Band provided live entertainment and the evening was capped off with a fireworks display.