Ravenhill handed re-development boost
March 11, 2011
Ulster's Ravenhill Stadium is set to benefit from a £14.7m grant from the Northern Ireland Executive © Getty Images
Ulster's Ravenhill Stadium is set to benefit from a £14.7m grant from the Northern Ireland Executive.
The significant investment forms part of a bumper £138m refurbishment package awarded to three of the region's main sports grounds with the Gaelic Athletic Association's Casement Park in west Belfast receiving £61.4m and the Linfield Football Club's Windsor Park - the home of the Northern Ireland side - handed £25.2m. Irish League football grounds are also set to benefit from plans for an additional figure of around £36m.
Following the announcement, Sports Minister Nelson McCausland said, "The Executive approval represents an important step forward in rectifying the long-standing deficit in stadium provision in Northern Ireland."
Under the long-awaited investment scheme, the work will see the grounds modernise and increase capacity as part of their separate ambitious plans. The Belfast Telegraph also reports that the three sports will also have to provide substantial additional funding of their own towards facilities upgrades all the way down to grassroots levels, not just at the major grounds.
"Modern, fit-for-purpose and spectator-friendly stadium facilities can only enhance the sports' standing and will assist the development of the three sports from grassroots right up to international levels," McCausland added.
Ravenhill, that also hosted matches at the 1991 and 1999 Rugby World Cup, has already seen major development in recent years with a new stand on the Mount Merrion side of the ground unveiled in 2009. The new funding will now be released in stages and go towards building three new stands at the north, east and Aquinas ends of the ground
The money being made available was originally intended for the development of a multi-sport stadium at the site of the former Maze prison. When that failed the Executive pledged to fund grounds already held by the three main sporting bodies.
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