Napier‘s McLean Park gets much needed upgrade

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton turns the first sod in the long-awaited $4.9m redevelopment of the troubled McLean Park. Photo: RNZ

Work is finally underway to fix Napier‘s troubled McClean Park in a long-awaited $4.9 million upgrade to improve the stadium‘s grounds.

Two cricket games last year had to be cancelled after poor weather caused flooding and a global sand shortage delayed the project.

A wet summer in Auckland, where the new hybrid turf was growing, also caused delays.

But with the Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Sharks on Friday now over, it was the turn of construction workers and the Melborne-based turf specialists HG Sports Turf to take over the field.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton says it will be worth the investment with rugby and cricket matches already booked for the spring.

As well as new drainage, a hybrid turf of natural and artificial grass will be installed that can be used for multiple sports and music events, he said.

New signage and upgraded amenities were also planned.

“This is going to be absolutely amazing for New Zealand sport,” Mr Dalton said.

The hybrid turf was a mat of artificial grass through which real grass was grown. It was being grown in Pukekohe, Auckland and would be harvested in July.

In September 2017, New Zealand Cricket had to change the venue of the second one-day international between the Black Caps and England for February the following year from Napier‘s McLean Park to Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui due to a delay in re-turfing the troubled venue.

And an ODI in February that year was called off without a single ball being bowled after the outfield failed to drain enough, despite dry conditions that followed morning rain.

Bill Dalton said he had assurance that this would not happen again as they the council was now “doing it right.”