FOOTY players, cricketers and construction workers cheered as Lismore mayor Isaac Smith and Kevin Hogan MP turned over the first sod on the $3 million upgrade of Lismore's Oakes Oval.
The upgrade was made possible with $1.4m in Federal Government funding, with the AFL, Lismore City Council and the Lismore Swans AFL matching the funds with cash or in-kind contributions.
"The project includes an extension of the grandstand roof cover, expanding the on-field playing area to boost spectator capacity and make it suitable for AFL games, replacing the ground's change rooms and visitor amenities and installing a new electronic scoreboard," Mr Hogan said.
"The upgrade of Oakes Oval will mean it will become northern NSW's premier sports facility, capable of hosting premiership AFL, rugby league, soccer, and rugby union matches."
President of the Lismore Swans Aussie Rules Football Club, Philip Tsourlinis, said the upgrade was crucial for further growing Aussie Rules across the North Coast.
"The redevelopment will be so critical in empowering our code's athletes on and off the field," he said.
Cr Smith said the oval upgrade would boost prosperity in Lismore at a time when it was most needed.
"Every building or construction project represents dollars flowing back into our city," he said.
"It is great news for Lismore's reputation as a regional sporting centre and a win for local sport fans."