Man­feild re­veals $15m makeover plan

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Your Paper, Your Place - SAM KILMISTER

The Man­feild board have re­leased a $15 mil­lion grand plan to re­de­velop its park, although with no fund­ing se­cured it may be more of a wish list.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Julie Keane said the plan, re­vealed last week, in­volved a new drive­way off Kawakawa Rd, ex­ten­sion of pit lanes, roof­ing over park­ing ar­eas, widen­ing of the rac­ing grid and fenced sep­a­ra­tion be­tween spectator and ac­tiv­ity for health and safety.

Keane also wanted a cafe area for fam­i­lies and added spectator stands.

‘‘The re­al­ity of the changes we are propos­ing in the blueprint, and the key is­sue, is go­ing to be fund­ing,’’ she said.

‘‘To say it’s a chunky, costly process is an un­der­state­ment - it’s sit­ting at around $15 mil­lion and I would imag­ine it would soon push up to $20 mil­lion,’’ Keane said.

She said the pro­posed work, which she hoped would start within three years, was es­sen­tial to in­creas­ing the look and feel of the park.

The prox­im­ity of the park’s agri­cul­ture sec­tion to the race track was a con­cern, Keane said.

Her aim was to lift all agri­cul­tural fa­cil­i­ties, such as the sta­bles, and move them closer to the eques­trian ring.

‘‘This new en­trance off Kawakawa Rd is the sep­a­ra­tion from sport and agri­cul­ture. We need to shift all that in­fra­struc­ture to the other side of the road, but we can’t just do that be­cause we’ve got a full cal­en­dar of events and our an­i­mals have got to go some­where.

‘‘The one key cat­a­lyst for us will al­ways be the race cir­cuit be­cause it’s our bread and butter. It’s what gen­er­ates the most amount of in­come for the trust so I would sug­gest it may have the top pri­or­ity.’’

Keane also wanted Man­feild to slowly step into event man­age­ment.

‘‘We had never looked into the op­tion of joint ven­tures. The new board has said we have the ex­per­tise. It’s a way we could be earn­ing higher lev­els of in­come.

‘‘The drive-in movies were a re­ally good ex­am­ple for us. We’ve now signed off on a new joint ven­ture agree­ment where we will be event man­ag­ing Beef Expo next year.

‘‘When we get our resources to a point we will ac­tively go out and seek events we can tag into.’’

The board would be look­ing at a fund­ing plan in the New Year, due for com­ple­tion by early Fe­bru­ary.

Aerial view of the Man­feild Park fa­cil­i­ties, which could get a makeover.

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