CARRINGTON Park is undergoing a serious overhaul ahead of the fourth game in the five-year National Rugby League deal between the Penrith Panthers and Bathurst Regional Council.
Council has committed $850,000 to upgrade the infrastructure and amenities at the sporting ground.
The star of the upgrade is the addition of a $150,000 LED screen.
Mayor Gary Rush said the screen will be used for greater coverage of the NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders in June next year.
“The relationship with the Penrith Panthers has instigated an improvement of the infrastructure and the amenities here at Carrington Park and the addition of a screen adds to the experience of the patrons,” he said.
The screen will be made available for use during games in the local Group 10 competition.
In addition to the screen, council will spend $400,000 on upgrading the lighting at Carrington Park in the coming months.
As the June NRL match will commence at 5.30pm and be broadcast live by Fox Sports, the issue of lighting needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“We’re just about to start on the upgrading of the lighting to modern day broadcast quality, which therefore allows next year’s game to be played at night,” Cr Rush said.
Council has also constructed a $300,000 amenities block within Carrington Park in response to complaints about patrons needing to use portable toilets in recent years.
With so much money invested in improving Carrington Park, questions have been raised about the longevity of the partnership between the Penrith Panthers and council.
“There is a real prospect of it going on into the future,” Cr Rush said.
“Our discussions with the Panthers has indicted that they see no end.”
He went on to say that the deal continues to boost Bathurst’s visitor economy when the games come to the city.
“I think having a night game will increase the prospects of people staying overnight,” Cr Rush said.