Lismore is aiming to become a national and international baseball hub with a $4.47 million funding application to upgrade baseball facilities at Albert Park.
The plans are being considered by the state government, and have also caught the interest of Major League Baseball officials from America, who toured the existing facilty this week.
MLB Executive Chris Haydock, who is in Australia attending the MLB Academy on the Gold Coast, said an upgraded facility would be a great base for elite high-performance camps.
‘I can certainly see the vision for Albert Park Baseball Complex and what the facility upgrade would deliver,’ Mr Haydock said.
‘Having high-grade facilities to conduct our international player development programs is a priority for MLB and from what I have seen today, Albert Park has the foundations of a great facility and just needs investment.’
Lismore City Council Tourism and Events Manager Mitch Lowe said it was exciting to see overseas officials taking Lismore’s desire to become a national and international baseball hub seriously.
Lismore is positioning itself as the home of baseball operations in Australia, with a $4.47 million facility upgrade currently before the NSW Government for consideration.
Baseball Australia has indicated it would commit to hosting key national events, international team training camps and National Team activities in Lismore for at least five years if the upgrade was funded.
‘A world-class facility in Lismore would see Albert Park become Baseball Australia’s premier complex and place the city on the world stage as a baseball hub,’ Mr Lowe said.
‘In baseball circles, Lismore is regarded as one of the most significant regions in the country, with a reputation for nurturing and developing skilled players, providing quality facilities and running major competitions and events. We want to take this to the next level and put Lismore on the map as a national and international baseball facility.”
Lismore recently won the rights to host the Bendigo Bank Little League and Senior League Baseball Championship for the next five years.
Mr Lowe said the events were just the tip of the iceberg, with an upgraded facility enabling Lismore to host national and international baseball events, training camps and programs year round.
He said an upgraded facility would inject more than $9 million per annum into Lismore’s economy.
‘This project is not a ‘build it and they will come’ exercise. Both Lismore City Council and Baseball Australia are committed to hosting and staging a large number of events and camps which will benefit the city significantly,’ Mr Lowe said.
‘It’s fantastic to have MLB officials in Lismore inspecting our facilities to see what programs and events could be possible if an upgrade occurs. We could see a raft of international activity at Albert Park in years to come. With the support of government and partners this project is close to being a reality.’