Let there be lights

A major floodlighting upgrade is planned for both ends of Gower Park in 2022, with further announcements about redevelopment plans for Melville United’s home venue likely in the coming months.

Gower Park No 1 is set to benefit as part of a $1 million grant from Trust Waikato to Hamilton City Council which will be used to install LED floodlighting facilities at five parks city-wide.

Hamilton City Council has now secured 70 per cent of the required $4.6 million funding to deliver the entire floodlighting project. The plan is to illuminate Gower Park No 1 to 500 lux, which may assist the venue in meeting criteria as a 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup training venue. Council is also working to install further lighting at Korikori Park, Galloway Park, Porritt Stadium, and Ashurst Park.

Meanwhile WEL Energy Trust has made a $40,000 grant towards an upgrade to LED lighting on Gower 6, though the total project cost here is expected to be $84,000 (plus GST) and further funding is being sought from other sources. This grant has to be used and accounted for by August 2022.

LED lighting will lessen the current draw down Sandleigh Rd and thus allow more of the existing 1500 watt floodlights to be used in better illuminating pitches 7 and 8.

Melville chairman Wayne Bates welcomed these developments.

“This will be a game-changer not just for Melville, but for football in the Waikato,” he said. “To have quality floodlights with quality surfaces offers a whole host of new opportunities around the community football space and the benefits will be wide-ranging.”

Bates expects to make a presentation to club membership about further redevelopment plans for Gower Park at the 2021 prizegiving. (Uncertainty over Covid levels has delayed the setting of a new date for prizegiving at this stage.)

# Melville’s 2021 AGM has been set for Saturday, November 6 at 2pm, Gower Park. The Melville East v Melville West annual fixture will be played at 12 noon.

# The 2021 northern league season has been declared completed with three rounds left unplayed, due to Covid-19 lockdowns. Melville finished 10th in the premier league and sixth in the reserves league.

# Melville Old Boys beat Cambridge 10-1, with 62-year-old Nigel Dowdswell scoring a hat trick and club secretary Scott Clark going one better in minuting four goals. Old Boys are third on the table with two matches to play.

Meanwhile Mighty As beat St Paul’s Corinthians 8-3. Mighty As finish third in Waikato Div 1, 12 points adrift of champions Melville Nobs.

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