New Pitch Facility
Westport GAA is the fastest growing GAA club in Connaught. In 2013, the club had a membership of just under 850 and it has now more than doubled in size to 1890 members in 2021. Hurling & Camogie participation has grown significantly in the last no. of years and Gaelic football membership continues to grow resulting in, for example, the club fielding 3 x senior football teams and an unbelievable 8 x u12 boys & girls Gaelic Football teams in 2020! (See Appendix 1 for club membership stats.)
The existing playing facilities located on the Newport Road, Westport, currently provides 2 x full size grass playing pitches, a small 3D AstroTurf and Clubhouse and struggles to accommodate the current membership teams either training or competing for the club on a weekly basis. The single biggest issue at present is lack of playing pitches for our large membership. We need 3 x pitches at a minimum to comfortably manage the logistical usage of the playing pitches with so many teams and just as importantly, an additional pitch would mean that all three pitches would be sufficiently rested between matches & training sessions in order to maintain decent playing surfaces. The absence of floodlighting in the facility further restricts pitch availability for training during the winter.
A new Pitch Committee was set up in early 2019 to investigate possible options for expansion of playing pitches for the club. Several options were considered. The most attractive option selected was a 7acre site on the Golf Course Road, owned in part by Mayo County Council (4acres of road frontage) and Westport House (3acres adjoining land). Both parties were approached and agreed, after several meetings, to a 99-year lease of the 7acre site to the club. Mayo CoCo. also own approx.15 acres adjacent to this site, which can be negotiated in the future by the club if the need arises.
Our vision is to build a state-of-the-art Croke Park size pitch, with a spectator stand, 4 x changing rooms, clubhouse, car parking and a site perimeter greenway on the leased 7acre site. The total budgeted cost for the entire project is €2.73million. A phased approach to project completion is currently under review and it is anticipated that Phase 1, consisting of a new grass pitch, car parking, 4 x changerooms, utilities infrastructure and site perimeter greenway will cost approx. €1.88million. Future Phase 2 (clubhouse completion €0.4million) and Phase 3 (250-seater stand & floodlights €0.45million) will have to be pushed out beyond 2022 for obvious financial reasons.
Funding for Phase 1 will be primarily supported from the very successful 2019 Westport GAA “Win A House in Westport” Fund Raiser (See Appendix 3) which raised a massive €0.50million for the club. A second follow up “WAHIW 2” Fund Raiser, targeting a further €0.50million profit is planned for 2021. The Project Team are confident of securing a Sports Capital Grant of up to €0.10million, while additional Club Fund Raising initiatives will be pursued over the next few years to help bridge the gap. Business Sponsors will also be approached for financial support to help this key community initiative.
A Planning Application for the entire project was submitted to Mayo County Council in December 2020 and formal approval has just been received for the project..It is anticipated that earth works will commence in June 2021 and Phase 1 will be completed for Sept. 2022.