Far North Coast Building for the Future
7 MILLION DOLLAR GRANT BOOSTS LISMORE’S POSITION ON THE MAP
The city of Lismore will be the home of an entirely new and improved baseball complex courtesy of a $7 million grant provided to the city by the state and federal government to upgrade and expand upon the current facilities at Albert Park Baseball Complex.
Far North Coast Baseball Association committee member, Billy O’Sullivan breaks down how the money will translate into the complex, “In total we’ve been given 6.95 million dollars. The grants have come from two different sources, one’s from Federal Government funding and the others from State Government funding. The first one is a million dollar grant that’s been matched by the local council and Baseball Australia; we’ve got two million dollars to spend there and that’s well on the way. That money has to be spent by the end of this financial year so we’re rushing to allocate the money to various tasks because it doesn’t have to be completed right away.
The facility will have new foul fences, new bullpens (four on one side and two on the other), the grandstands will be painted and re-seated. We are building four large shelters for spectators and for teams to gather, they will be roofed and seated. A large BBQ area is also part of that first stage, as well as a small playground for youngsters; a lot of refurbishment is scheduled for the clubhouse. There will be various improvements to the eating area out the front of the canteen. We will also have drainage upgrades around the main field. A new back net will be installed along with larger, longer dugouts. That takes up the two million dollars and sums up the first stage.
The second stage is the 4.95 million and that will be taken up by a lot of earth works, all the fences will be replaced because they were all damaged due to floods last year, the other three diamonds will be refurbished, so by the time we finish the whole of the project, which is likely to be early 2020 Albert Park will look brand new. Albert Park Field 3 will be totally demolished and split into three little league fields, Albert Park Field 2 will be re-fenced and resurfaced. It will have new dugouts and back nets along with improved drainage and watering systems. A big part of the second stage will the another building at the back of Ground 2 which will cater for spectators as well as serve as a canteen. It will really cater to the demand that these tournaments bring with them.”
When asked how the upgrades will affect national tournaments O’Sullivan revealed, “One of the main aspirations we have is to establish Albert Park as the Little League centre for Australia. We’ve been doing this for 25 years, we have a tremendous volunteer base which is essential for tournament management, there are very few facilities in Australia that have fours diamonds, and two of them lit, that’s what makes this an ideal tournament venue. That’s the purpose of this upgrade we want this to be a tournament venue, a training camp for all the Australian teams, which is why Baseball Australia has been behind this so much.”
Albert Park Baseball Complex is the home of Far North Coast Baseball Association, the club’s current Little League and Junior League coach, Danny O’Sullivan, adds “[The upcoming upgrade to the facilities] have been a long time coming, the last upgrade was in the 90’s where big money was spent here a lot of work has been put in from a lot of volunteers and it’s nearly on it’s last legs at the moment so to have that come along has put a lot of spirit back into the club.”
Senior League coach, Brad Donald confirms that the upgrades will lead Lismore towards having the premier baseball facility in Australia, “We are really looking forward to what the upgrade will bring in the future, potential Major League games, overseas training venues for travelling teams. We’ve had a lot of around what could happen, if do and our kids get to witness those things first hand it’ll really build their confidence and experience. This whole thing will really put the Far North Coast on the map in the years to come.”
Far North Coast Baseball Association have a quick turnover as they prepare Albert Park Complex for the annual International Timberjacks Friendship Series held from the 13th – 15th July.
More details on the park’s developments will be announced soon.