North Harbour softball is heading into a new era following Upper Harbour Local Board approval for a ground lease that is a step toward a new two-storey stadium at Rosedale Park, Albany. The park is to be made ready as part of plans to host The International Softball Federation Men’s World Softball Championships in March 2013.
The proposed stadium will enable the event to be held on the North Shore and also meet the long term needs of the growing sport at Rosedale Park.
The new stadium, estimated to cost around $1.8 million, will provide toilets, storage space, multi purpose meeting rooms and seating for about 500 spectators, mostly undercover. There are plans for new scoreboards and lighting improvements as well as four new dug-outs.
Chair Brian Neeson says the local board is right behind the initiative and welcomes the international tournament on its home turf. “It’s an opportunity that must be seized with both hands and we expect to be further involved in the build-up to the event,” he says.
“The championships will bring people and funds into our community and at the same time will be a catalyst for the further development of Rosedale Park, which will be of lasting benefit to our community.”
Softball is a growing sport at Rosedale Park where the North Harbour Softball Association has been based since 1976, sharing the existing clubrooms with the Albany United Football Club.
The association comprises 11 clubs and about 1400 members plus an equal number of supporters, volunteers and officials who help run the organisation. Among them are father and son combination Brad and Pita Rona who were both selected for the Black Sox North American tour. Brad is vice-captain of the Black Sox and 16-year-old Pita has played right through all the junior grades at North Harbour.
Association Operations Manager Heather Tapsell says: “We’re very proud of Brad and Pita and we’re thrilled to be hosting the international championships, which we’re determined to make a success.”
Having secured the lease and resource consent for the proposed new stadium and associated works, the association will next seek building consents for the project.