The new Community Sports Center in Palomas–a major Border Partners project to improve life in Palomas–models Border Partner’s value for sustainability and people-centered development. A project that’s been years in process and several months in direct development, the sports center building makes the best possible use of resources that are available in the town to stretch funding dollars and accomplish more. In concept and in implementation, the Community Sports Center reflects Border Partners’ commitment to sustainable and community-centered development.
A building that was built as a factory, but never actually used, had fallen into disrepair and begun collecting debris. When Border Partners approached owner Phillip Skinner with a proposal to re-purpose the building into a community sports center, he generously agreed to allow the building to serve that use.
Basic rehabilitation of the building required months of clean-up and many trips to the landfill for the small crew that began work. They had to clear the facility and the area that surrounded it of dozens of small trees and also thorny bushes that had grown to up to 5′ in height.
The area was littered with broken glass, plastic bags and garbage. Workers cleared all this before construction of the facility could begin. The project essentially rehabilitated a city block, turning an eyesore and sanitation hazard into a town asset.
Promoting sustainable sanitation is a hallmark of Border Partners. We’ve promoted and built dry toilets since our earliest days, installing them in various places in Palomas. Dry toilets offer sanitation at low cost, because they do not require water, connections to city sewage lines or elaborate septic systems. So, it was natural for Border Partners to augment the sports center with dry toilets for the athletes’ use.
Recycling Available Materials
Commercially purchased soccer goals are expensive. To circumvent that cost, Border Partners workers devised the plan to recycle some pipes that remained from a playground climber that formerly occupied a Palomas park. This piping has had several “lives” as we’ve reused it over and over in several recreation configurations. It now stands proudly in cement, ready to signal the traditional soccer victory cry of “Goooooooooooooooal!”
“People Powered” Construction
Similarly, commercially purchased soccer goals are costly. But with the available “people power” of many willing community workers and volunteers, home-made nets now adorn more than just the soccer goals. Macrame nets also cover the windows of the facility, preventing errant balls from exiting the building and will eventually separate the courts in the facility allowing play of several games concurrently.
Community Sports Teaches Sustainability
A community project can stretch funding dollars and can also serve as a model for a community like Palomas that has few available resources. This Community Sports Center has been a boost to the town by providing a major recreational asset. That in itself would have been laudable. But, even better from our point of view, the project promotes values that we hold dear: sustainable technologies and people-centered development. For that, we are pleased and grateful.