Newcastle Basketball has lodged a development application for its proposed 10-court complex and new home in Hillsborough.
Planning documents submitted to Lake Macquarie council on Friday offer an insight into how the centre might look, with artist's impressions of the 4000-seat show court sure to have tongues wagging when basketball resumes next month.
Newcastle Basketball general manager Neil Goffet said the facility was "urgently required" as the existing stadium at Broadmeadow no longer accommodated all of the association's activities.
"Registration numbers have almost doubled in the last few years and catering for that growth is becoming increasingly difficult," he said.
"The NSW government are to be commended for making such a significant investment in this region and we are extremely grateful for their commitment to this project.
"We've had a few hiccups with fire restrictions on the site, but our architects have been amazing in getting us to this point.
"Our project managers have been working very hard behind the scenes and we can't wait to start construction later in the year."
The NSW government pledged $25 million to the facility ahead of last year's election. It then allocated $13.4 million in this year's budget for the project.
Acting Sports Minister Sport Geoff Lee said the Hillsborough stadium would be a sports and entertainment hub, catering not only to basketball but volleyball, wheelchair sports and a host of other community, sporting and cultural activities.
"The new stadium will take basketball in the Hunter to a new level and it will have the capability to host national and state tournaments each year," he said.
"A new generation of fans will be inspired while watching the superstars in action in this world-class facility.
This is a big win for basketball and the entire Hunter region.Sports Minister Geoff Lee
Lake Macquarie council supplied the 6.7 hectare site for the proposed complex, enticing Newcastle Basketball away from its existing stadium in Broadmeadow, which opened in 1969.
"This is a significant milestone for basketball and indoor sports in general," Mayor Kay Fraser said.
"It is a wonderful project for our city and without doubt, it will significantly contribute to creating a more active, engaged and healthy community.
"There are a few steps to go before it reaches approval stage, but I'm very excited by the thought of a state-of-the-art basketball centre in the heart of Lake Macquarie."
Newcastle Basketball hopes to have the stadium built and open by late 2021.
FAMILIES READY TO PLAY
Alicia Macdougall is likely to be one of thousands of Hunter parents looking forward to getting their children back involved in sport.
The mum of four kept her children as active as possible through the coronavirus shutdown, mainly by shooting hoops at their New Lambton home, but nothing compares to the real thing.
Her four kids are all usually involved with Newcastle Basketball and, after a long break and with the resumption of play in sight, can't wait to return to the court.
"They're really excited to get back," Ms Macdougall said. "It's been really weird through COVID because we obviously, as a family, do quite a bit with basketball and other sports. We've got a basketball ring at home. My eldest Laila, she's pretty dedicated, she would go out most days but the others were a bit hit and miss."
Newcastle Basketball will be one of the first local sporting associations to resume competitions, starting with juniors on Wednesday, July 1. Senior matches will begin the following Monday.
Ms Macdougall said it had been a "big change" not being involved in community sport over the past few months. She is usually at the basketball stadium in Broadmeadow most days with her children or to play in the women's competition.
Her daughter Laila, 10, is in the Newcastle Hunters under-12 rep team; daughter Evie, 8,is in the Newcastle Basketball Academy; son Wil, 6, is in Aussie Hoops, which is a learn-to-play program for children aged 5-12; and son Nate, 3, is in the Mini Hoops program for toddlers and pre-schoolers aged 3-5.
"Definitely the social aspect they have missed," Ms Macdougall said.
"They've made some really good friends, especially Laila and Evie. It's a really nice community that they get to be a part of."
All community sports at both junior and senior levels can return from July 1.
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