Ground needs a facelift

KEY users of the Urana Road Oval are pushing for a major upgrade of one of the city’s most popular grounds.

They want the Albury Council to spend $600,000 on the venue’s outdated facilities.

The oval’s major tenants are the Murray Magpies Football-Netball Club and New City Cricket Club.

They will present their case to councillors on March 10. They say they want the money to be spent over the next two years.

The total cost of their plans is more than $1 million, with the clubs prepared to take on interest-free loans of $150,000 and a supply more than $350,000 of in-kind support and materials for the revamp.

New City vice-president Anthony Baker said a council pledge would be the trigger for funding from the AFL and Cricket Australia.

“The football club has been here for 15 years, trying to survive, and the cricket club for seven,” he said.

“We are at the stage that if something doesn’t happen, both entities might have to look at moving or, worse, cease to exist.

“The expectation of members is we have a decent facility.

“It is a genuine multi-use centre, but the whole place needs a revamp.”

The clubs are making their presentation ahead of the council releasing its budget in May.

Urana Road Oval is not on the council’s short-term radar for improvements.

But Mr Baker said there was a master plan for the venue and work could start on updating changerooms, social facilities and the canteen area in April next year if council funding was available.

“On the council’s own measure of facilities requiring an upgrade, this one is in the top two,” Mr Baker said.

“We’ve got full construction documentation for the venue ready to go.

“It shouldn’t be down-played what we are putting ourselves up for here.

“We won’t own it — it will be a council-owned asset — but we are prepared to finance 40 per cent of it.”

The ground’s facilities were built in the 1970s when the venue was the outskirts of the city.

The centre is also used as a training ground by the Lavington Panthers junior football teams, senior and junior cricket representative matches and primary school football and cricket.

The Magpies hold after-match functions at its major sponsor, the Boomerang Hotel, due to the lack of suitable facilities at Urana Road.

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