Work on a planned multi-million upgrade for Larne’s Inver Park could get underway this summer – provided that funding for the scheme is in place.
The major redevelopment, which is estimated to cost in the region of £4m, would see a 3g pitch laid at the ground, as well as the creation of a new all-weather training facility covered by a dome.
Planning approval is also being sought for the creation of a new 1,100 seater stand and changing facilities.
Larne Football Club is hoping to secure funding for the ambitious scheme from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), which has set aside £36m for football stadium development.
Larne FC chairman Archie Smyth said Inver Park is “sorely is need” of a makeover.
He told the Times: “Larne FC, like many clubs in the Irish League, is sitting with pre-war facilities.
“This much-needed funding boost would allow us to bring our ground up to standard.”
Mr Smyth added that the planned redevelopment would also result in the perimeter wall surrounding the pitch being torn down, a move which is sure to be welcomed after Larne midfielder Scott Irvine collided with the wall during a recent match and suffered serious head injuries.
Mervyn McKay, chief executive of the club said the upgrade would bring Inver Park up to UEFA standard.
He added: “We are one of a number of teams which have applied for a share in the funding pot.
“Some elements of the scheme, such as the 3g pitch, do not require planning approval, but we have submitted proposals for other aspects such as the new stand, changing rooms, offices and sports dome.”
If the club is successful in securing the grant from DCAL, it is hoped that work could begin at Inver Park before the start of the new season and be completed by the end of 2015.