TAMWORTH is in the fast lane to becoming a sporting mecca.
With the Northern Inland Sporting Centre of Excellence forging ahead for an anticipated soft opening in March, could the country music capital soon be wearing two hats?
The long-anticipated $17 million project was handed the final piece of the funding puzzle last January when, during her first visit to Tamworth as NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian announced the state government’s $4.25 million contribution to the Northern Inland Centre of Sporting Excellence.
It was a move that mayor Col Murray said at the time would help establish the region as a national sporting hub.
He’s not wrong.
This time next year, Tamworth will be home to a brand new velodrome, athletics track and equestrian arenas.
Work began on the project in September. And with the equestrian arenas already taking shape, council is set to determine contracts for the next part of the project as early as next week.
The project, which is expected to be completed by December 2018, includes building a new athletics facility, extending the existing Sports Dome to provide additional indoor multi-use courts, a new outdoor equestrian arena, and developing the Northern Inland NSW Cycling Centre, comprising a velodrome and criterion track.
The best part about it is that it sits within the same precinct as AELEC, the Sports Dome and the Hockey Complex.
Having a dedicated sporting precinct boasting a new multimillion-dollar complex gives the city heightened capacity to host national competitions and marquee games.
We only need to look at the economic benefits of a stadium like AELEC to realise the huge potential this new sporting centre has for the region.
Once complete, this project is a huge win for Tamworth and surrounds. It’s also a great example of two tiers of government working together for the greater good.
Tamworth will no doubt always wear its country music capital hat with pride – it is such an integral and valuable part of our identity. But with a growing sporting identity, there’s every chance there’s room for one more hat on the rack.