Foot­ball club closes in on clu­b­rooms goal

Central Leader - - SPORT - By LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

New fa­cil­i­ties at Keith Hay Park can’t come fast enough for Three Kings United.

The park’s foot­ball club has been try­ing to re­place its fa­cil­i­ties for 18 years.

A 2012 Auck­land Coun­cil con­cept plan in­cludes two new ar­ti­fi­cial fields, a big­ger car park, a chil­dren’s play­ground and new clu­b­rooms cost­ing about $3 mil­lion.

But the club says fund­ing is a ‘‘ Catch 22’’.

Club man­ager Steven Reid says the club has to find the money – some from the coun­cil, with the rest com­ing from grants and fundrais­ing – be­fore the old fa­cil­i­ties can be knocked down.

‘‘It’s all about tim­ing and the time is now. The cur­rent clu­b­rooms are just use­able, func­tional, but they’re re­ally past their use-by date. There’s not enough room and we’re ready for some­thing more.’’

Keith Hay Park is the busiest sport­ing ground in Auck­land with about 70 vis­it­ing teams and more than 7000 people pack­ing the grounds ev­ery Satur­day.

Work on the first stage of the park plan started in Jan­uary, in­clud­ing re­mov­ing an out­door pool and re­vamp­ing park­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

Three Kings United have sub­mit­ted a fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion to the coun­cil and the de­ci­sion will be made on June 16.

The rest of the new car park is planned for the space cur­rently oc­cu­pied by the club so it will have to be done later.

‘‘We’re just wait­ing at the mo­ment,’’ Reid says.

‘‘We want to move and coun­cil wants us to move but first we need the money. For a long time there was per­ceived ob­struc­tion or stum­bling blocks to get over but it was all about putting our ducks in a row be­fore we could see ad­vance­ment.’’

The plan is to move the clu­b­rooms fur­ther out on the fields, over­look­ing the main play­ing ground.

Club pres­i­dent

Mur­ray Hold­away says park­ing is also an is­sue with half of the car parks cur­rently fenced off.

The clu­b­rooms need to move sooner rather than later, he says.

‘‘It’s a frus­trat­ing one. We’ve been work­ing on it for so many years, but we’re much closer now than we have been for a long, long time.’’

Coun­cil spokes­woman Jane Aickin says the plan has been pur­posely staged to al­low for the clu­b­room re­de­vel­op­ment.

The fields will be re­jigged to ac­com­mo­date two new ar­ti­fi­cial fields which will be built in about 2018 – a process that would ideally be co-or­di­nated with the clu­b­room con­struc­tion, Aickin says.

The car park ex­pan­sion is on track, she says.

‘‘The con­cept plan is in­tended to guide de­vel­op­ment of the park for many years into the fu­ture.’’

Photo: LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

Gear­ing up: Three Kings United gen­eral man­ager Steven Reid says the prospect of new clu­b­rooms is ex­cit­ing, es­pe­cially with the cur­rent clu­b­rooms be­ing well past their use-by date.

New digs: Draw­ings of the pro­posed clu­b­rooms.

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