$1 Million to Revamp Hall

A Napier company has given $1 million to help redevelop Centennial Hall as part of a plan to turn McLean Park into a regional stadium.

Medallion Foods today kicked off a fundraising campaign for a $7 million project to develop Centennial Hall into a multi-use sports complex.

The Napier City Council hopes to start the redevelopment next year, as a millennium project, and has proposed putting $2.4 million toward it.

Medallion Foods managing director Rodney Green said the $1 million gift coincided with his 50th birthday.

“This year instead of receiving gifts it’s my pleasure to be giving” Mr Green said.

The money will go into the McLean Park Regional Trust, set up earlier this year to raise funds not lonely for the Centennial Hall redevelopment but also other McLean Park projects.

Mr Green conceived the idea of the trust about two years ago, to encourage people to give specifically toward the development of McLean Park.

“there must be others who want to give (toward the park) but they don’t want to see the money go straight into the council’s coffers” he said.

Trust spokesman Tony Brownlie said the trust’s vision was to see McLean Park become a top-class regional stadium for Hawke’s Bay.

“If McLean Park is not competitive with venues in the larger centres we’re not going to continue to host international teams or attract top-quality players,” he said.

Plans had not been finalized for the Centennial Hall redevelopment but it would include a top-class indoor sports facility as well as a new grandstand to replace the existing stand above the hall, Mr Brownlie said.

Fundraising would now begin in earnest.

The trust would approach the Lottery Grans Board and other major funders and also hope other businesses would follow Medallion Foods’ example and give money, he said.

Mr Brownlie said the trust would also seek support from the Hastings District Council, because of the regional benefit of the park redevelopment.

Even if Hastings would not give money toward the project its “moral support” would be appreciated, he said.

He hoped the Centennial Hall redevelopment could be completed by the end of 2000.

The council had originally planned it as a staged development, but the trust hoped to “do it all in one go” if it raised sufficient money.

Meanwhile, Mr Green said the trust also had a longer-term plan to buy houses behind McLean Park’s McKenzie Stand, on McVay Street, to provide extra parking space for sports fans.

There were six houses behind the stand and the council had already bought 15m off their sections to provide access behind the stand.

The purchase of the houses would occur only as they came on the market, Mr Green said.

By Chris Mole


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