It has been eight years in the making, the subject of numerous reviews and a legal challenge, but a $8 million redevelopment of Norwood Oval has finally started.
Demolition of the Baulderstone Stand got underway last week, with work on a new stand and function centre — to be known as the Wolf Blass Community Centre — due to be complete by the start of the 2020 football season.
Wolf Blass, a high-profile winemaker and long-time supporter of the Redlegs, has committed $1 million to the redevelopment that will carry his name.
He said seeing work start almost brought him to tears.
“It’s a wonderful start after … years of total frustration,” Mr Blass said.
“We will leave something behind for the community to enjoy … with different sports to be introduced on the oval.
“It will be the second-biggest stadium in the state of South Australia, that’s of great benefit to the community and to sports people at large.”
Norwood Football Club president Paul Di Iulio described the start of demolition works as the opening chapter of an exciting new story for the Redlegs.
“It’s exciting to see demolition commencing … it’s something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” said Mr Di Iulio, also the chief executive of Campbelltown Council.
“We’ve been around 140 years. It’s like a new beginning for us, to invest in our future.”
Norwood, Payneham & St Peters Council, which owns the ground, is contributing $3.4 million to the upgrade and Norwood Football Club raised $6.1 million — including Mr Blass’s contribution — through its Build The Fort campaign.
The upgrade will also include the installation of four unisex changerooms — funded through a $500,000 State Government grant — to allow for more AFLW games.
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