The Ministry for District Administration and Lands (MDAL) officially opened a new Calisthenics Park at the Seven Mile Public Beach. The 5575 square feet, state-of-art, outdoor fitness facility is the brainchild and donation from local businessman, Phillip Schlossstein and is now free for public use. The Park is situated on Crown land and will be maintained and managed by the Cayman Islands Government.
To mark the occasion, a small-scale ceremony was held at the park site and attended by Government officials, members of the local fitness, health and wellness communities and other contributing members of the project.
The Honourable Juliana O’Connor-Connolly gave the opening remarks and expounded her support of the project as the Minister responsible for Lands.
From the onset, Phillip’s intention to partner with the Government for the ultimate benefit of the people, rather than to expect or ask for waivers and special dispensations, made his proposal standout. Phillip’s love for the Cayman Islands was demonstrated through his dedication to give back to the community in a unique and sincere way. Phillip has produced what he has promised, in a transparent, people-driven and timely manner. We are very grateful and appreciative of Phillips contribution. The successful delivery of the Calisthenics Park, by way of good public-private partnership, epitomizes our mantra of ‘Community makes Country.
Minister O’Connor-Connolly explained.
In her address, Minister O’Connor-Connolly posed a challenge to other members of the community with similar resources, to come together and follow suit in investing in the community and working towards more collaborative national building. The Minister also responsible for Education, expressed her delight in Phillip’s “locally-minded” encoding with his stipulations that local students, athletes, coaches et al. must play an integral role in the Park’s opening.
His Excellency, Governor Martyn Roper followed up with a special address echoing his support.
Understanding that this project started only three months ago, I congratulate all concerned and am proud of the fantastic work done with the Park. Moreover, I am happy to see this Government’s focus on health and wellness epitomized in this state-of-the-art facility.
Phillip Schlossstein who is originally from Germany, expressed his passion for Calisthenics which is a form of strength training that is suitable for all fitness levels. Mr. Schlossstein who wants to be referred to as simply ‘Phillip’, gave a spirited presentation covering the park’s development journey. Phillip shared his vision to give back to the Cayman Islands, by creating a “community square” for all to enjoy. “We are enormously privileged to live in a country with peace, stability, the rule of law and freedom of expression amongst many other things. I make no secret that I feel passionate about encouraging wealthy people and companies, who call Cayman home, to contribute to raising the quality of life for all people. To those who may be harbouring similar private initiatives for the public good, talk to the relevant departments of the Cayman Islands Government as they are open for business. The CIG has been timely, goal-oriented, cooperative and pragmatic. I am grateful for their support and look forward to future projects towards making this community an even better place to live, work and raise a family,” shared the successful entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist.
To demonstrate the park’s functionality and to educate key-stakeholders about the park’s potentialities, student-athletes, physical therapists, physical education teachers, sports coaches were all invited to participate in the grand opening activities. A highlight of the activities was the captivating, live demonstrations by three, world-champion “Street-workout” athletes–Jay Chris, Sophie Brace and Tony Gastelum from the United Kingdom and Mexico. The visiting athletes are also facilitating a series of free training-workshops for local sports and physical therapy experts during their weeklong stay.
Minister for Health and Wellness, Honourable Sabrina Turner spoke more about how the Calisthenics facility contributed to providing solutions to improve the well-being of residents, adding, “COVID-19 has changed the way we think about health overall. When we were constricted to our homes, persons found simple ways to move their bodies – mostly through calisthenics. By adding this park to one of our most-visited public spaces, we are continuing this enhanced culture of health and wellness here in the Cayman Islands.”
With the park site located on Crown land, oversight for the project was assigned to Ministry of District Administration and Lands, with consultation provided by the Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure (PAHI).
The Honourable Andre Ebanks spoke on behalf of the Minister responsible for PAHI (Hon. Johanny Ebanks) and in his own capacity as the representative for West Bay South and Minister for Innovation, Investment and Social Development.
The collaborative approach taken by the private and public sector demonstrates how much we can achieve in a relatively short period of time when we all work together to invest in our islands. The Public Works Department was integrally involved and will act as recipient of the project, by exercising their normal maintenance and upkeep of the park. We look forward to assessing the usage of this park overtime so we can determine how best we can replicate similar versions in other communities.
Minister Andre Ebanks said.
Phillip Schlossstein has committed to the construction of a second facility of its kind in Cayman Brac, which will commence after a period of observational study of the Grand Cayman facility.