Boost for football park

WOLLONGONG ADVERTISER

A renewed push for a mega football centre in Dapto has piqued the interest of the region’s top football body, Football South Coast.

FSC chairman Eddy De Gabriele welcomed calls by Wollongong councillor Ann Martin to consider establishing a major regional park in Dapto which would encompass a ‘‘major regional soccer facility’’ either as part of the park or as a stand-alone facility.

In a notice of motion to the council last month, Cr Martin stated the park should be a significant community, cultural and recreational facility for the current and future residents of Dapto and Wollongong.

This bodes well for FSC’s plan to build a $7.5million mega football centre on a parcel of land alongside Dapto’s Cleveland Road.

The organisation hopes to create a 24-field complex on the site, which is flood-prone and therefore not suitable for housing but could accommodate a sporting ground.

Mr De Gabriele said the council had been providing aid to his organisation and a geotechnical study to establish soil quality had been successfully carried out.

The complex would service the nearby West Dapto land release area, which is expected to house 17,000dwellings and 50,000people over the next 20 years.

Mr De Gabriele said the complex would cater for all football from under 5s all the way through to Illawarra Premier League standard.

‘‘This will basically be our local home for football on the South Coast,’’ he said.

The football chief added FSC was also working on establishing a home for ‘‘elite football’’ at JJ Kelly Park in Coniston.

The plan is to have football at state league level and higher played at the venue currently used by the Coniston Lions and Illawarra Stingrays.

‘‘There have been ongoing discussions where the council would support development of the outside fields of JJ Kelly Park,’’ Mr De Gabriele said.

‘‘The internal grounds would be for the Stingrays and Lions. The outside one, which would be artificial turf, would be for the South Coast Wolves.

‘‘We would also invite other Premier League and District League clubs to base themselves at JJ Kelly Park.

‘‘The stadium would comply to state league standard. We would also build our [FSC] administration building at the park.’’

He said a geotechnical and feasibility study were still to be completed for JJ Kelly Park.

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