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A celebrity 100m sprint will mark the opening of the revamped Newtown Park on Saturday (17 November).
At noon, Mayor Kerry Prendergast will officially open the park, which has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past 18 months into a top city sports venue.
Straight after the opening, Mayor Prendergast will line up on the track with a team of celebrities to launch the facility.
She faces some tough competition. Sprinters confirmed so far include World Mountain Running champion Melissa Moon, former New Zealand 100m champion and Commonwealth Games representative Michelle Bearle (nee Seymour), former Black Cap Gavin Larsen, and coach of the Wellington Firebirds and former Australian One Day International cricketer Anthony Stuart.
Since 2006, Wellington City Council has extended and redeveloped the grandstand, upgraded the upper field, relocated a pavilion from Southgate Park to the upper field, constructed a new equipment storage building and public toilets, and improved facilities for people with disabilities.
The Council committed $3.6 million to upgrading the park because major sports events were being lost to the city because of the poor state of the facilities.
Newtown Park now has two full-sized sand-based sports fields, six changing rooms, modern drug-testing and first-aid facilities, increased storage space, increased administration area, function rooms, and more toilets.
There is still work to do, including redevelopment of the car park area, and revegetation with native plants. This will be completed over the next year.
The sports ground is used for athletics – including school events, and Capital Football, the Wellington Phoenix and Team Wellington football teams. But the park is also increasingly being used for training by rugby players, cricketers and other high-performance sports people.
The park opening will be followed by the Regional League (round 2) track and field meeting. This starts at 12.20pm, with the last race at 4.45pm. Entry is free all day to the event.
There will also be a free bouncy castle for children from 11am to 1.30pm.
Newtown Park Redevelopment