By Carlena Knight
The long overdue demolition of the double decker stand at the Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG) could begin in short order as the final stages for the relocation of the vendors who used to ply their trade under the stand is nearing completion.
Sports minister, Daryll Matthew, shone some more light on this latest development.
“We are now at the place where the temporary vending area that we have been speaking about for several months now for the vendors, at the Double Decker stand, is going through the final touches to ensure that there’s running water and bathroom facilities and so on, but clearly now, the move is imminent and the demolition of that stand should be close on the heels behind,” Matthew said.
The vendors who previously operated under the double decker stand will be placed north of the government printery in the green space next to the Cricket West Indies (CWI) ticket booth.
After demolition, the newly created space will remain open for a short time before reconstruction commences on the new stand.
Matthew explained that once the double decker is demolished, plans will be finalized for the erection of a new stand. He also confirmed that the vendors who were temporarily relocated would receive first preference.
“Once the current facility is demolished, we will finalize and we will continue to discuss with our shareholders – one of which is the ABFA (Antigua and Barbuda Football Association) since they are the lease holders of the property. We have agreed with the vendors that they will be given first preference to return to the inside of the ARG to ply their trade. We do have several conceptual drawings about what is to go there. I think what we are in the discussion phase over is exactly what sort of capacity we will require, given that it is unlikely that the ARG will be used for a Test Cricket venue again. That’s not to say it will not be used for other kinds of cricket, but do we need the same sort of seating capacity and so we are in the stages of finalizing that part of the discussion and we proceed from there,” he added.
Matthew did not give an exact timeline for when this demolition will take place. He did share that once the vendors have moved, it will begin.
The YASCO Sports Complex is expected to benefit from the demolition of the stand as plans have been outlined to utilize salvaged material to construct permanent seating at the country’s lone track and field facility.
The dilapidated state of the ARG has come under much scrutiny from members of the public.
Recently, cricketing legend Sir Vivian Richards shared his disapproval over the condition of the ARG.