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Fix Falcon Field folly

The Editor, AMANDALA

Mon. Nov. 30, 2015

As much as I applaud the Government of Belize for the huge investment they have made in sporting facilities and infrastructure in the country, via Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL), I am disheartened by the quality of basketball facilities that are being constructed.

I am writing as a basketball enthusiast, who has been involved with basketball at all levels in the country of Belize. Given that I live in San Ignacio, I will speak solely about the basketball court that was built at Falcon Field. I cannot question the aesthetics of the structure, but can surely question the purpose of the building. Any basketball court that has an overhead covering should be built as a weather proof facility that is accessible when it rains. At Falcon Field, everyone refers to our building as a “dry-weather court,” because just a small drizzle gets the playing court wet, not to mention a rain. It is frustrating that the engineering and architectural designers could not factor in that very elementary component. We are presently having our annual BECOL tournament, and every time it rains, we need to sweep and dry the court, if not, postpone the games.

I am disappointed that no one was consulted from the basketball community, and when informal consultations were made, none of the suggestions were implemented. The facility only has 2 rows of bleachers, only 5 lights, and no electrical outlets. The direction of the court was placed East-West instead of North- South, not factoring the rising and setting of the sun, and its effects on the players when shooting. The basketball rims are not flexible rims, and the backboards are poorly mounted. Our biggest frustration is that the structure we had before had better lighting, better bleachers, better rims, better team benches, better backboards and it had two basketball courts. After investing almost $1 million in this structure, I am sure that we could have received a more suitable and equipped facility to serve our basketball community.

With all that being said, the basketball community in San Ignacio Town is still hopeful that the shortcomings of the basketball facility at Falcon Field can be rectified. We humbly ask that awnings be placed on the four sides of the structure to keep the court dry when it rains. We humbly ask that additional bleachers be installed for basketball fans, and that better lighting, be available. We are also requesting that the backboards and the rims be replaced with fiber-glass, transparent backboards, with a pair of flexible basketball rims. After so much money has been invested at Falcon Field, it is prudent that BIL rectifies the shortcomings of the facility to better serve our basketball community.

(Ed. Note: Sounds like some legitimate concerns. Karim Juan happens to be the Secretary General of the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Basketball Association. In Belize City, we fear going down the same road with our $30 plus million Civic Center. At the sports desk, we would like to have more “transparency” with this BIL that seems to be in charge of all our sporting facility constructions.)

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