FINALLY, the wheels are in motion.
Last week Orange City Council confirmed it was in the final stages of buying land for a rectangular field and sporting precinct, the location of which, at time of print, still remains a mystery.
But those wheels, it’s good to see them turning.
Orange has been longing for a purpose built rectangular field for close to five years now, with our city the only regional centre with a population nearing 40,000 people to be missing a facility capable of hosting big-time sport.
Wade Park was capable - hosting A League trials in 2006 and 2007, the Raiders and Broncos NRL trial in 2008, the City-Country representative game in 2009 and then a NSW Waratahs versus Fiji Warriors in 2010 - but, sadly, it’s not anymore.
The last three years of nothing paints that picture quite clearly.
Mudgee, the little sporting town that could, hands down leads the way in terms of stadia in country NSW.
Feeding a population of 10,000 people, Mudgee’s Glen Willow is phenomenal.
A purpose built stadium, a plethora of supporting fields as well as netball courts has set the town up for the long term locally.
Nationally, the ground has put Mudgee on the map.
The Group 10 Mudgee Dragons got to play before the NRL game in May - unprecedented exposure for the club, not to mention the junior Dragons featuring on the NRL Footy Show prior to the weekend the match was staged.
It’s time Orange’s sporting gems - in league, union and soccer - got the same opportunity.
In May this year when Parramatta played the Gold Coast Titans at Glen Willow, Kenny Sutcliffe, the male model himself, declared: “I’ve never seen a town of this size gets so much exposure.”
“Plenty of people are talking about it. Places like Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo - all bigger than Mudgee - don’t get nearly as much.”
Surely we want people talking about Orange too.
And if a stadium is the answer then the first two questions should be by when and how much?