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THE Southland Softball Association is one step away from starting construction of its new clubrooms in Surrey Park.

Facilities development committee chairman Noel Eade said thanks to fundraising efforts and community funders, $1.3 million of the $1.8m needed for the development had been secured.

The committee was now waiting on the outcome of a funding application submitted to the Community Trust South [CTS], which was expected to be announced in January/February next year, he said. If the application was successful, construction would be able to start straight away.

“I would like to thank the funders that have already committed to [the project], Lotteries Grant Board Community Facilities Fund, ILT Foundation and Invercargill Licensing Trust, and the softball community.”

In December last year the Southland Express reported the Southland Softball Association (SSA) was in the process of raising funds to build new clubrooms at Surrey Park.

At that time, construction was expected to start at the end of winter this year.

Mr Eade said the delay was a result of the CTS funding process taking longer than expected.

SSA provides facilities for all softball activities in Southland. The region’s seven softball clubs use the Surrey Park clubrooms located on the south side of ILT Stadium Southland as their base.

The SSA clubrooms were originally built in the mid-1960s. The building had been largely rebuilt in 1983 after much of the original building was destroyed in a fire. It had been maintained, but little had been done to modernise or develop the facilities since that time and they were now outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

The new clubrooms would be located on the north side of the Surrey Park athletics track and contain changing rooms, umpires’ rooms, a meeting room, administration, bar and kitchen facilities and storage rooms.

SSA president Rata Hopa said the plans for the new facility had been developed solely on a “needs basis”.

“There are lots of things we want, but we need to be realistic with our budget and with what we can do.

“[The new facility] will certainly meet our needs and any other community groups which want to use it as well.”

Ms Hopa said she was confident the remaining funds would be raised, with in-kind offers of support already received helping to get the club over the line.

“We are very positive about what our outcome will be… because we believe the softball community is behind us.”

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