$4m cricket cen­tre pro­posed for city

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE - LIBBY WIL­SON

A $4 mil­lion cricket hub could be built be­side Hamil­ton’s Sed­don Park - and not with ratepayer money.

North­ern Districts Cricket wants the cen­tre as a home and train­ing base for its play­ers, and says it can find the funds.

The com­mu­nity cricket cen­tre would be on the Bryce St side and have in­door train­ing lanes and office space.

North­ern Districts would also dou­ble the num­ber of out­door grass wick­ets and revamp the en­trance to Sed­don Park’s Gate D.

Hamil­ton City coun­cil­lors like the idea - es­pe­cially as they’re not be­ing asked for money - but on Thurs­day last week strug­gled with how they could for­mally ex­press their sup­port.

‘‘It al­lows us to be a 365 day sport rather than a sum­mer sport,’’ North­ern Districts chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben MacCor­mack said in last week’s pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil.

The cen­tre would be used by first-class crick­eters as well as younger play­ers and com­mu­nity crick­eters, he said.

Plans for the two-year project have al­ready been de­vel­oped with Fos­ters Con­struc­tion Ltd and Chow:Hill Ar­chi­tects.

Coun­cil wouldn’t be asked to con­trib­ute to the build, though MacCor­mack hoped North­ern Districts would get a favourable rate on their lease af­ter spend­ing on the area.

North­ern Districts plans to fund con­struc­tion through various means, in­clud­ing gam­ing trusts, and has part­ner­ships which could bring con­struc­tion costs down, he said.

Coun­cil’s ap­proval would would help when ap­proach­ing fun­ders.

The project is a sit­u­a­tion ‘‘where other peo­ple are pay­ing the bill for what I be­lieve would be pretty good city ben­e­fit over­all,’’ coun­cil’s gen­eral man­ager of events Sean Mur­ray said.

Coun­cil­lors voted 9-1 to sup­port the project, with Cr Leo Tooman in op­po­si­tion. Crs Mark Bunt­ing and James Cas­son were not present for the vote, and Cr Rob Pas­coe was ab­sent. The fi­nal proposal will come back to coun­cil for ap­proval.

The project would also in­volve re­vamp­ing the Gate D en­trance to Sed­don Park.

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