It may not quite be ready in time for the upcoming Bathurst Orange Inter District Cricket [BOIDC] season, but work is steadily progressing on a $1.5 million upgrade to Bathurst Sportsground.
The work, which got under way in July, has managed to avoid any significant delays due to recent rainfall and the COVID-19 lockdown, and is on track for completion by April, just in time for Bathurst's winter sport season.
Bathurst mayor Ian North said construction crews have made stellar progress on the project, and can't wait to see one of the city's premier sporting facilities enter a new era.
"Once complete, this facility will be at the level of quality required to host state-level cricket matches, right up to four-day Sheffield Shield matches and daytime T20 fixtures," Cr North said.
"Locally, the ground will be the pride of the community for Bathurst's top-tier cricket clubs in the BOIDC, as well as for rugby league in the cooler months."
After Bathurst Little Athletics were made to move across to Morse Park over summer to make way for the redevelopment, Cr North confirmed they will be invited to return once the works are complete.
"They [Bathurst Little Athletics] currently have designated areas over in Morse Park, but they'll be able to use the facility again once works are complete," he said.
"School carnivals will also return to the venue, as schools appreciate being able to use a closed, controlled area to stage events."
Cr North said council is currently assessing the costs of lighting for the facility, in a bid to bolster the venue's credentials in hosting night events.
"The NRL and the Penrith Panthers continuously praise the quality of Carrington Park every year they play here, we'd like to eventually achieve the same result with Cricket Australia regarding the sportsground," he said.
"One can only imagine how well a night Big Bash League T20 game would go down here in Bathurst, and we want this facility to help further push our capabilities as an events city."
The $1.5 million has been jointly funded by council, the state government and Cricket NSW.
Bathurst MP Paul Toole said the development will only grow the city's appeal among key state and national sporting bodies.
"By having a new picket fence, drainage and irrigation, it will give Bathurst the opportunity to attract top quality cricket to the city," Mr Toole said.
"Bathurst is a key location outside Sydney sporting codes and cultural organisations consider for large events, so we need these up-to-standard facilities to accommodate them."
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