CAY HILL—“The soccer field at the Raoul Illidge Sport Complex is in a deplorable condition,” said Maikel Cornet Director National Sports Institute.
“I've on numerous occasions attempted to find the funds to replace the artificial turf of the field,” explained Cornet. “The fact remains that the turf is costly and the funds to execute this replacement has not been secured as yet.”
The cost to replace the artificial turf is approximately $664,567. The running track around the pitch is also in need of repair at an estimated cost of $726,854.
Like an athlete that has been knocked down in a game Cornet and his NSI staff have picked themselves up and continue to fight.
They have reached out to government and funding agencies like the National Recovery Program Bureau.
Now NSI is reaching out to the actual sports people and the community at large. NSI has posted both on their web page https://nationalsportsinstitute.sx/ and their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/nsisxm the list of the work needed at the RISC and many of the other sports facilities. They are seeking donations to help up grade all the sports facilities.
“People are still hurting financially from the Covid lockdown,” admits Cornet but he is hopeful as the Island recovers so too will the sports facilities.
“The reality of the situation, if we had received all the promised funds after Irma & Maria, the major repairs would not be an issue today.”
He continued, “We are aware of the condition of the field. For that purpose we are keeping the rental fee at its lowest.” The cost of using the field has been reduced in hopes the teams using the facility will help fund the repair.
NSI is still seeking funding from traditional sources like the NRPB which was established after hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.
The NRPB is tasked with implementation and evaluation of the projects that are funded by the St. Maarten Trust Fund which is financed by the Government of Netherlands and managed by the World Bank.
But getting a project, written approved, funded and implemented is a long time consuming process.
In the meantime athletes and sports fans can visit the NSI sites and make a donation in hopes of getting the facilities repaired before they are closed for safety concerns or worse before someone gets injured.