Napier's McLean Park is to get a multi-million dollar makeover that will lift the regional stadium to international standard for major sporting codes.
Fundraising has already started for the upgrade that will see the McKenzie Stand replaced by two stands wrapping around the corner from the Centennial Stand. Between them, the two new stands will be able to seat 5000 people.
Announcing plans for the regional sports stadium today, Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott said the redevelopment would bring McLean Park into line with requirements set by the New Zealand Rugby Union for hosting premier division games and New Zealand Cricket for continued one-day matches. The aim was to achieve that for 2006.
Mrs Arnott said the work to be done next year would also allow the park to be used for other outdoor events. The upgrade would also provide new player and coaching facilities, independent match referee space, extensive new toilet facilities and storage.
The McLean Park Trust had picked up the impetus for bringing the stadium up to international standard and already had some funding committed to the project. Chaired by Ross Bramwell, it would reveal further details of the upgrade and launch a fundraising drive early next year.
Set up in 1998 to investigate options for redeveloping the park, the trust had put its activities on hold while Napier and Hastings focused on building the Pettigrew-Green Arena in Taradale.
Mrs Arnott said McLean Park's new stand facilities would complement the $1.4-million refurbishment of Centennial Hall. Recently completed, that upgrade, with new kitchen and ancillary rooms to cater for up to 1000 people, provided excellent amenities for both players and the public.
"The redevelopment of McLean Park will capture the interest of all who know the park as one of the original foremost outdoor stadiums in New Zealand.
"Bringing it up to standard to join the top sports grounds once again will excite the imagination of the region and build on the excellent ground work and foresight of our past," Mrs Arnott said.