A new gym and impressive top-floor glass pavilion that can open to the sea breeze are part of an exciting $2 million redevelopment proposed for the Clarke Grandstand at Mitchell Park, Merewether.
New change rooms, refurbished public amenities and lift access are also part of the upgrade that's set to draw more players and spectators to a great, new community asset.
The joint project between City Of Newcastle and Merewether Carlton Rugby Club will provide a dramatically improved playing and viewing experience for the club's home games and those of South Newcastle Rugby League and Merewether District Cricket clubs.
The works, which could start later this year, are listed in a draft budget that City Of Newcastle will consider placing on public exhibition on Tuesday night, before final adoption in June.
"I am delighted to announce this much-needed upgrade for Mitchell Park or Townson Oval," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
"This proposed project is a fine example of how sporting Clubs and Associations are able to contribute and partner with Council on refurbishing their home grounds.
"The upgrade will deliver an asset for the entire community and provide the footballing, cricket and cycling groups that use Townson a boost."
John Davis, a Board member of Merewether Carlton's Greens Foundation, said the new grandstand and new Green Room
within would be a game changer for the club.
"We are extremely grateful to be able to partner with Council to help redevelop the grandstand," Davis said.
"Not only will it offer our players, members and supporters better facilities, it will give fans a better vantage point from up behind the bleachers and also allow administrators to host in-house presentations, sponsors functions and club events.
"So it's a really exciting project for the Merewether community, and it will become a great community facility with Souths and the Cricket Club also based at Townson Oval."
Council has budgeted $1.5million for the grandstand's base build, with the fit-out to be funded by $500,000 from Club reserves and funds raised by the Merewether Greens Rugby Foundation.
Detailed documentation is complete, development consent is in place and, pending final approval of the Council budget in June, construction is likely to commence after the football season.
MR Davis said Carlton was a strong community-based Club that had called the ground home since 1930.
"The new facilities not only allow us to continue our connection with the ground for the long term but provides a first-rate community facility available to all users," he said.
“We came to the conclusion with Council a few years ago that this was the most sensible and economic option for the ground. We initiated the concept, developed the design and gained consent before handing it over to the Council to complete documentation and do the base-build. The support and collaboration we have had from the Lord Mayor and the Council’s project team have been outstanding."