Shelbourne Park is set to undergo a €3m revamp.
The stadium is to be prioritised for upgrading as part of a new forthcoming five year strategic plan for the greyhound sector.
The Ringsend venue which recently celebrated 90 years of racing is recognised by the Irish Greyhound Board for its strong earning potential within the capital city.
It is also intended to place a stronger focus on the corporate and tourist markets.
The IGB recently acknowledged that ‘Shelbourne Park is competing with the Aviva (stadium) and Croke Park but we are not at that standard yet’.
The investment of €3 million is a cumulative figure over five years which the report recognises is contingent on financial targets being met.
Management within the semi-state company believe the sale of Harold’s Cross now presents a golden opportunity for reinvestment across a range of areas as the legacy debt will be cleared.
Gerard Dollard, CEO IGB said: “The strongest economic growth is in Dublin which also has the greatest disposable income.
“Other tracks and areas will receive investment but Shelbourne as the flagship stadium in the IGB portfolio, has to be a priority.
“There has been no significant investment at Shelbourne since 2002 and facilities are badly in need of upgrading to meet the needs and expectations of the modern day consumer.
“Technology enhancements, upgrade of facilities, track improvements and other proposals that will refresh and modernise the offering are all up for consideration.
“This is not a rebuilding of Shelbourne Park greyhound stadium but more a revamp of current facilities. All projects will have to be carefully planned so as to minimise any disruption to racing schedules
“The forthcoming investment plan from the IGB will require Government approval before any surplus from Harold’s Cross can be used and the semi-state will have to adhere to a strict public spending code and capital investment appraisal process.
“The commitment to redevelop Shelbourne Park was made by the IGB last year as part of resolving a dispute over the sale of Harold’s Cross.
“In December 2017, the IGB sought expressions of interest for professional services to design a ‘Master Plan for Refurbishment/Upgrade works’ at Shelbourne Park.
“Taking account of any design, planning and procurement processes, it is anticipated that upgrade and improvement works would commence in the latter part of 2018.
“The master plan will assist in guiding us to select and prioritise the most appropriate projects to best utilise the funding that we expect will be available.” concluded Dollard.
Financial revenues for 2017 are expected to be disappointing as Shelbourne Park was closed for 22 weeks last year due to a dispute over the sale of Harold’s Cross. The €23 million sale is yet to be finalised but is in the final stages.
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