South Services Gunners juniors joined Clarence Valley mayor Jim Simmons and Chris Gulaptis to celebrate the lights coming on at Rushforth Park with a Rushy replica cake.
South Services Gunners juniors joined Clarence Valley mayor Jim Simmons and Chris Gulaptis to celebrate the lights coming on at Rushforth Park with a Rushy replica cake. Contributed

Let there be light on Rushforth upgrade

FOOTBALL: Let there be light.

With the flick of a switch, the culmination of years of hard work was realised at Rushforth Park, as light flooded across the fields.

In turn the game has become more accessible to the hundreds of participants registered across juniors, seniors and Supa Oldies ranks.

Clarence Valley Council mayor Jim Simmons and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis were joined by North Coast Football general manager Paul Ninness at Rushforth Park last week to officially flick the switch on the new lights.

It was a moment years in the making after the sports governing body had joined forces with Grafton Supa Oldies Soccer and the Rushforth Park Towns Club to apply for the funding.

The lighting was funded through a NSW Government Stronger Country Communities Fund grant of $301,000 and NSW Government Asia Cup Legacy Fund grant of $117,000 with in-kind support, project support and administration provided by the Clarence Valley Council and Grafton SOS.

The previous lighting only allowed for one night game to be played at any time, but Ninness said the new lights would allow for three games to be played simultaneously.

"Five clubs can now do night training there now, so it will be a great help with building participation,” he said.

"The community can now utilise the facility to the full extent.”

Gulaptis said the whole community benefitted when local government worked in partnership with state government on behalf of residents.

"This is about delivering the social infrastructure I am so passionate about,” he said.

"The council and I want to make sure locals have the best possible infrastructure and services, and these much-needed improvements at Rushforth Park are a terrific example of that,” Mr Gulaptis said.

Cr Simmons, a former junior soccer coach and official, said providing quality sporting facilities had benefits for the whole community.

"The more people we can get active the better,” he said.

"It improves the health and wellbeing of those involved, brings people together and helps with social interaction.”



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