A partnership between Nottingham Forest FC in the Community charitable trust and the council has secured the funding from the FA, Premier League Community Development Fund, NHS and Police & Crime Commissioner to replace an existing artificial pitch as well as "old and tired changing rooms installed temporarily 25 years ago". It will also refurbish a turf pitch and add a multi-use games area, said head of parks and open spaces Eddie Curry.
The refurbishment will be delivered by Carillion, with artificial pitch supplied and built by Tiger Turf, which is on the FA's framework list. The new Forest Sports Zone will be run by the trust. The project is designed to help grass-roots football and save the local authority £100,000 a year. It completes the £5.2m regeneration of Forest Recreation Ground,
Curry said: "It's a colossal amount of money and it will be a fantastic sports facility. The reality is Nottingham Forest is a far more sellable brand than Nottingham City Council - kids are going to naturally want to get involved in the football club."
The move follows the announcement by FA chairman Greg Dyke earlier this month that outlined a plan to more than double the number of artificial pitches in urban areas to rescue grass-roots football in England. The scheme would cost £230m initially with the expectation that local authorities will hand over their facilities to trusts to manage.
"We've been working on this for quite a long time but it's now quite clear that the FA's priority is in 3G pitches and we will be a project that will deliver that," said Curry.
The money saved will not go back into Curry's parks budget but will help him save an estimated 30 per cent of his budget over the next three years, helping to protect his core services.
Nottingham parks department is promoting its nursery to every council in the country. It already sells nursery stock to four neighbouring local authorities but has now distributed its brochure more widely. Nottingham City Council won the Association for Public Service Excellence award for best parks, grounds and horticulture team last month.
Birmingham City Council is rebuilding its Cofton Park Nursery and hoping to get increased orders for the 2015 growing season.
Image courtesy of Sports and Safety Surfaces