A park built for Melbourne’s 1956 Olympics will become a sports hub to serve its community through to 2056 – one of dozens of projects supported in a major local sports infrastructure drive from the Andrews Labor Government. Minister for Community Sport Ros Spence today confirmed Olympic Park in Heidelberg had received $4.5 million to continue works to transform the park into a multi-faceted sport and recreation precinct.
The $110 million second round of the Labor Government’s Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program has backed 42 projects across the state, which are expected to create 600 local jobs. Funding includes $3.9 million to fast-track the Women and Girls Sport and Wellness Centre at the Thornbury home of the Fitzroy Stars, and $2.55 million for a new multisport precinct at Gordon Street Recreation Reserve in Ararat. There is $5 million to build three multipurpose courts at Craigieburn Sports Stadium, more than $1.6 million towards six individual lighting projects across the City of Monash, and $2.1 million for the Horsham Regional Water Play Park – the first nature and water play park to be built in the Wimmera-Southern Mallee.
Olympic Park was built to house athletes competing at the Melbourne Olympic Games and its cinder running track was used as the official athletics warm-up venue for the Games. The venue is now the home of Heidelberg United FC, with the Labor Government previously providing $3.5 million to upgrade the main pitch and lighting, install a MiniRoos pitch and establish a 1956 Olympics memorial garden.
The new funding will reconstruct ovals for football and cricket, upgrade the existing pavilion and refurbish the Barrbunin Beek Gathering Place, among other works. The project is expected to create dozens of full-time jobs during planning, design and construction.
The new projects follows an allocation of $10 million to deliver the second stage of the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct – including squash courts, a second oval, car park and administration space.
The $178 million Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program has backed 70 projects worth $335 million, creating more than 800 jobs. It is part of the Labor Government’s $1.05 billion investment in community sport and recreation infrastructure since 2014.