WADE PARK will become the home of cricket in regional NSW after a $2.2 million investment in the facility was announced in Orange on Monday.
Cricket NSW chief executive officer Andrew Jones, NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant and Orange mayor John Davis made the multi-million dollar project official, Orange stumping Bathurst as the first regional city to house a purpose-built indoor academy after Orange City Council confirmed $700,000 to the project.
The NSW Government will produce a further $1 million to the building, with the remaining funds coming from Cricket NSW, Cricket Australia and a local government grant to the Orange District Junior Cricket Association.
Construction on the indoor facility, which will include two multi-purpose courts for indoor cricket, suitable for netball and futsal, four adjoining high-performance cricket lanes, change rooms, disabled facilities, office space, a kiosk and a multi-purpose room with a viewing area looking over the Wade Park playing surface, will begin in the coming months, with completion scheduled for as early as the 2017-18 season.
Mr Jones said Cricket NSW was “keen to get cracking” on the facility, a flagship building for the game in regional NSW, one making Orange the premier region for cricket in the bush.
“We’ve got a strategy to build 11 or 12 regional centres of excellence, but this is the first and it was really kickstarted by council,” Mr Jones said.
“Scott Maunder came down to Sydney to meet with us and ask if we would support an indoor centre here.
“Because he took the initiative we thought this is a council that wants to have a crack and make things happen, we’re happy to support it.
VIDEO: View the press conference of the announcement at Wade Park:
“This will be the first of its kind in regional NSW.”
Councillor Davis was confident the investment in Wade Park will have long-term benefits for the sporting community.
“We’re going to have major games here and that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
“There’s no risk we’ll be looking to get as much local input as possible.
“The timeframe has been mentioned as being upwards of two years, but we will be trying to do it in 12 months.”
Mr Grant said the NSW Government was keen to continue to support the development of grassroots sport in the state.
“When I first heard of this proposal, I was hit for six – what a great way to foster the future greats of regional cricket, in the steps of Donald Bradman,” Mr Grant said.
“The NSW Government is very proud to give our current and next generation of cricketers a training facility that will give them every chance of a crack at wearing the baggy green.”