It has been a three-year wait but one well worth it.
Maitland Showground’s new $450,000 grandstand is almost complete and ready for occupancy with an official opening scheduled for the 2017 Maitland Show.
The grandstand is a key component and the showpiece of Maitland Showground."Vice President Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Association, Paul King.
Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Association vice president Paul King said a few last minute cosmetic touches are being carried out on the structure with it set for occupancy at a trotting or greyhound meeting later this month.
Mr King said an official opening will be part of next year’s show.
The association launched a campaign early last year to restore the ailing structure with an anonymous Maitland benefactor pledging to donate about $200,000 if the association could raise the remaining money needed to complete work.
It received a government grant of $250,000 and also received some smaller donations from various Maitland non-profit organisations.
The reconstruction project posed a range of problems the main one being the structure’s heritage listing. The listing made it difficult for builders to carry out certain works because they had to be done in a sympathetic way.
Mr King said the renovations started about three months ago after funding was locked in.
“At this stage we are up to the painting and as soon as that’s dry it will be ready for occupancy,” he said.
The grandstand was originally built in 1911 and holds about 1000 people.
Mr King said work carried out on the project has been “sympathetic” to the original structure, matching new timber as close as possible to the original.
He said the grandstand's original frame has been retained.
“We’re extremely happy with the way things have finished and we are particularly grateful for the donations,” he said.
“The grandstand is a key component of the showground and opens everything up to a wider variety of events.
“The centre ring has been under utilised since the grandstand has been out of action,” Mr King said.
“The grandstand is a key component and the showpiece of Maitland Showground.”