AFL Victoria has vowed to commit $100,000 to help develop the Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Precinct in New Gisborne.
The sports fields project, which was developed by the council last year, involves the construction of a new oval complex, associated buildings and recreational facilities on land at the corner of Barringo and Hamilton roads.
The project is expected to cost $14.2 million, with the council committing $4.7 million.
Macedon Ranges mayor Jennifer Anderson said the AFL Victoria money was the first external funding commitment for the project.
“This fantastic commitment will help council and our community in our advocacy to federal and state governments and other sporting organisations for funding,” she said.
“It’s great to see that the AFL shares our excitement about this project because we need broad support to be able to deliver it and the great benefits it will bring to the region.”
The proposed first stage of the project will include a synthetic grass oval, providing all-year-round access for football, cricket and soccer clubs.
The sports field will be built alongside the Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Hub, which will provide indoor sports courts.
AFL Victoria chief executive Steven Reaper said the AFL provided AFL Victoria with funding to help councils and clubs develop well-located, accessible and welcoming football facilities.
“The New Gisborne Regional Sports Fields is listed as a key priority project in both the AFL Goldfields and AFL Central Victorian Regional Facilities strategies that were recently completed,” he said.
“This project connects strongly to two of our priorities, namely to plan and develop new facilities in key growth areas across the state, along with ensuring facilities are catering for the diversity of participants, particularly female participants.”
Meanwhile, the council has called on the state government to help it fund three sport and recreation projects across the shire.
The council has asked the government to provide $500,000 for the development of female-friendly changerooms at Gardiner Reserve in Gisborne as part of its Female Friendly Facilities Funding Program. The council also wants the government to provide $170,000 for practice nets at Woodend and Macedon cricket clubs.