PLANS to rejuvenate the Showground’s dilapidated grandstands have been put on hold due to a lack of resources at Armidale Dumaresq Council.
The $5.5 million project is expected to incorporate the century-old grandstands into a new multi-purpose building which will house a restaurant and function centre.
The building would seat up to 1000 people and could be used for various events within the community.
Armidale Showground Reserve Trust chairman Rob Taber said he was confident of gaining both state and federal funding for the project.
Mr Taber has approached Member for Northern Tablelands Richard Torbay and New England MP Tony Windsor for help with the fundraising efforts.
He believes an upgrade of the Showground could prevent Armidale from missing out on major events through a lack of available seating.
But Mr Taber claimed the Reserve Trust had reached a “no-win” situation because of Council’s inability to support the proposal.
Both grandstands are on the local heritage listing, which would require Council to assist the project financially before approaching the State and Federal Governments for funding.
“We believe we’ll be able to get the funds if we incorporate the two grandstands into the project so that it encompasses the restoration of them,” Mr Taber told The Express.
“Council said they are 100 per cent supportive of the project but don’t have the money.
“So we feel that if we can’t get any funding or support from them then we don’t know where to go from here.”
“This is a very feasible project for Armidale that will no doubt bring a lot of money into this town but without them on board it’s going to be really difficult.
“I’m hoping that with the upcoming elections the new Council will be interested in the project.”
Council’s deputy mayor Jim Maher described the proposal as “exciting” but said it wasn’t in their strategic plans.
Cr Maher said Council remained committed to other costly long-term projects such as an upgrade of the library and a new performing arts centre.
“Rob and his committee are doing a great job, but there’s a number of projects on our books right now,” he said.
“Our commitment has been to the library and the fundraising for that has only just started so we just haven’t got the resources to embark on another project like that.
“We’ve already announced where Council wants to go on certain things so we’ve got a lot of demands on our funding.”