$4.95m investment hopes to lure baseball headquarters
LISMORE has hit a home run with the news of a $4.95 million in NSW Government funding to upgrade the Albert Park Baseball Complex.
And while the decision of whether or not the upgrade will see Lismore named as the new headquarters for Baseball Australia is pending, the new facilities mean it could become a popular base for international teams in their spring break or off-season training.
On Thursday morning some of the regions most talented young players were on hand, along with club and sporting officials when Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and Member for Lismore Thomas George announced NSW Government funding for the Albert Park Baseball Project.
Planned upgrades to Albert Park will include playing field extensions, improved turf quality, electronic scoreboard and fencing, a central facilities hub with landscaped garden areas, picnic tables and park shelters and an operations centre which will host up to 64 athletes and locker space, shower and toilet facilities and team meeting rooms.
Mr Barilaro said he was delighted Lismore would soon be able to deliver major league games.
"Today's announcement is a huge win for regional NSW, and cements Lismore's position as the home of baseball in Australia," he said.
"The funding means Lismore will have the very best baseball facilities in the country, capable of drawing more major baseball events and tournaments to the regional town."
Mr George said facilities upgrade will attract regional, national and international baseball events to NSW and Lismore will soon be the country's most significant destination.
"This funding boost for Albert Park is a great outcome for Lismore and the surrounding regions," he said.
"It will drive tourism, economic growth and deliver incredible entertainment through baseball and softball tournaments in this electorate."
Following facility upgrades, BA will have three to six full-time staff working at Albert Park and 10-14 part-time or contracted staff working during games and events.
BA chief executive Cam Vale said he was thrilled with the support from the NSW Government.
"Lismore is home to some of our most important domestic tournaments," Mr Vale said.
"We've seen substantial events grace Albert Park in recent years, including an annual Major League Baseball camp, and this announcement further cements Baseball Australia's commitment to hosting future events in Lismore as well as exploring the possibility of a future ABL team in the city and region."
Lismore mayor Isaac Smith said it's great news for Lismore and the region.
"Combined with $2 million from Council, Baseball Australia and a Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure Grant, this is almost $7 million to turn it into a world-class baseball and softball centre," he said.