Activation of Public Spaces

May 4, 2023 12:15 pm

Minister Rodolphe Samuel and the Department of Sports, within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sports is proud to announce the development of the Boardwalk sports park and the Belvedere sports park which is being executed in collaboration with Port St. Maarten Group and Argos Cement.

With the Department’s “sport for all” vision, the “Sint Maarten Sports Facilities policy was developed and approved in 2021 highlighting the need to integrate sports spaces into spatial planning and to facilitate an active and healthy lifestyle for all citizens through activating opportunities for physical activity in the public space.

Besides the traditional way of ‘bringing’ the inactive citizens to the sports facilities, public spaces can be turned into low-threshold facilities inviting all citizens to partake in physical activity, while enabling people to choose when and where to engage in active recreation. With small interventions, public spaces can be used for spontaneous and self-organizing exercise.

Based on the Sports Facilities' policy, an “activating public spaces for physical activity plan” was developed to provide opportunities to maximize the potential of public spaces suitable for physical and recreational activities. One of the ideas lays the focus on outdoor fitness, calisthenics, and beach sports.

Boardwalk - In collaboration with Port St. Maarten Group, the boardwalk was identified as a great location as it is currently a highly visited area for physical activity in the public space as it is used for cardio exercise. The installation of outdoor fitness stations and a calisthenics device provides the community and visitors to the island with more opportunities to engage in physical activity, offering a wide range of exercises in order to do a full-body workout. The equipment is free to use, making access to physical activity more accessible to those who may not have had the opportunity or means to engage in it previously.

The park will feature a fitness circuit with 9 different fitness stations including a wheelchair-friendly device, a calisthenics device with an endless possibility of exercises, two beach volleyball courts, a bocce ball court, and two goals for beach football. All the equipment is user-friendly, functional, anti-vandalism to prevent destructive behavior, all weatherproof, and low in maintenance as stated as a prerequisite in the Sports Facilities Policy. The materials are also easily removable in case of hurricanes or other usages of the area. The park will be located near the Pasanggrahan Hotel.

Belvedere - In 2021 various community spaces were created through the Sint Maarten Development Fund and financed by the Red Cross. The Belvedere sports park was included in this project and four fitness stations were placed at this location. In collaboration with Argos Cement, it was determined that calisthenics equipment would be a great addition to the existing machines.

The department looks forward to the community coming out to utilize the equipment, as the activation of public spaces with various sporting equipment is a convenient and enjoyable way to engage in physical activity, which in turn will help to improve the overall health and well-being of our citizens.

We thank our partners Port St. Maarten Group and Argos Cement for their contribution to ensuring the development of both parks. We are excited about these developments, and we will continue to seek ways and means to support the community in getting fit and staying fit.