Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) today announced a $2.5 million refurbishment of patron facilities at Wentworth Park which will rejuvenate the grandstand and give facilities a new lease of life.
The work will commence on June 23 and will result in the ground floor, first floor and bistro area of the grandstand at greyhound racing’s NSW Headquarters receiving a much needed face lift.
The re-development will transform the venue into a quality, contemporary environment that will improve the race night experience for everyone that visits Wentworth Park. The works are being funded through the GRNSW industry development fund and will be completed prior to Wentworth Park hosting the 2008 National Championship Finals on Saturday 30 August.
GRNSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan said the project had been a long time in the planning and was delayed as a result of the financial impact of the Equine Influenza outbreak on the greyhound racing industry in 2007.
“The project will be worth the wait as the renovations will bring a fresh vibrancy to the stadium,” Mr Hogan said.
“It is a very big job, given the size of the areas concerned as we will be replacing all floor coverings and ceilings, plus upgrading bars, totes and all television screens to create a venue we can be truly proud of.
“There will be a period of disruption over the next few months as the works are completed but by the end of August, Wentworth Park will deliver a patron experience up to the standard that is expected of a metropolitan greyhound racing track in the year 2008,” Hogan said.
GRNSW has worked closely with the metropolitan race clubs to design and plan the refurbishment.
GBOTA Executive Officer Brenton Scott said that the Wentworth Park refurbishment was overdue and would provide the venue with enhanced marketing opportunities.
“Metropolitan greyhound racing is the main ‘gateway’ to the industry, more people are introduced to greyhound racing via Wentworth Park than any other venue in NSW,” Mr. Scott said.
“Currently the venue is uninviting but the refurbishment will turn this around and will be the foundation upon which improved marketing and promotional budgets can be justified.”
The Wentworth Park grandstand was opened in 1987 and has not had any major refurbishment works done on it since that time.
Wentworth Park Sporting Complex Trust Chairperson Susan Cleary said the Trust is delighted that the refurbishment is proceeding.
“It will compliment the Trust’s recently completed upgrade to the Park’s entrance,” Ms Cleary said.
To facilitate the refurbishment, the race meetings scheduled for Wentworth Park on the 28th and 30th of June have been transferred to alternative venues.
The GBOTA metropolitan meeting on Saturday 28th June will be conducted at Gosford whilst the NCA metropolitan meeting on Monday 30th June will be conducted at The Gardens.
All other race meetings during the construction period will be conducted at Wentworth Park, however there will be an unavoidable disruption to some patron services during this period.
The project is being undertaken by Sydney based architects Response Group and Gosford based building company North Construction and Building.
Of course, this announcement comes only days after the GBOTA and NSW NCA entered in to a heads of agreement of the future occupation of Wentworth Park.
The deal, brokered by GRNSW, effectively bailed out the financially troubled NSW NCA; and passed over all metropolitan racing in to the hands of the GBOTA.
While much of the NSW greyhound racing fraternity has long argued for an end to the administration heavy dual occupation of Wentworth Park metropolitan racing; the deal has come in for severe cristicism from some quarters, as it only further serves to perpetuate the embattled existence of the NSW NCA.
An existence which many believe cannot survive the ongoing losses stemming from their failing Newcastle Gardens Complex investement.