Lalor United FC are set to benefit from a multi-million dollar facility upgrade at HR Uren Reserve, the club’s home ground in Thomastown.
Under the upgrade plans, the club will receive a new synthetic pitch, a new pavilion – which will include a multi-purpose social space and a notable carpark extension.
Lalor have been pushing for these upgrades for a number of years – according to vice president of the club Emil Atanasov, with the local Whittlesea City Council providing significant support which included funding for the project.
Speaking to Soccerscene, Atanasov explained the timeline for the implementation of the upgrades.
“Stage One of the project is to put in a brand-new artificial FIFA approved pitch,” he said.
“The pitch that is currently there now hasn’t been touched since 1979. Construction on that will start any day now – when more of the construction workers get back to work and will be ready by March of next year.
“As soon as that’s done in March, the works for the pavilion should begin.
“The brand-new pavilion will have a social space for the club and local communities. The tender process for that should be going out shortly, but it should be assigned and ready to go in March.
“Finally with the carpark, works could possibly begin the same time as the pavilion, or they are going to wait for the pavilion to get completed to get going on it.”
Atanasov believes the much-needed changes to the facility will bring in a range of benefits for the club, but also to the local community.
“It’s huge for the club, as now you will be able to play all weather football,” he said.
“That pitch used to flood all the time, if there was a bit of rain you couldn’t train on it. Now, there will be no problem for any type of weather.
“We are also expecting a bit of an influx of players to the club because the facilities upgrade is huge for the area.
“With the pavilion, lots of community groups have already said they want to use it, for example dancing groups and pensioner groups.
“We have never had a social space at the club, it’s always been the changerooms converted into a makeshift dining room. So now, finally the club is getting a social space where members can sit down and enjoy themselves with great company.
“That carpark at the moment has around 50 spaces or so and at night it is prone to accidents. With the upgrades they will develop a one-way entrance and exit and there will be triple the amount of space.”
The club itself was established over 40 years ago and has a historic presence in the Thomastown area.
When initially created, Lalor United was inspired by a vision for a broad-based community team, celebrating cultural diversity and sporting passion through football, according to a statement on the club’s website.
Atanasov stated that the club’s core mission is to provide “a safe, fun, football environment for anyone who wants to play the game.”
This type of motto has led to Lalor becoming one of the largest clubs in the City of Whittlesea municipality, with more than 300 members signed up across a wide range of teams.
The club has ambitions for further upgrades in the future, which will look to hopefully grow their culturally diverse membership base even further.
“Look upgrades wise, we’d like our lights updated eventually so we can play night matches and attract a few more teams at the club,” Atanasov said.
“But for now, we are focusing on the current upgrades and once they are done, we will be all set and ready to go.”