FOLLOWING last month's announcement by Bandon AC that the club has been given the green light for construction of a new 400 meter all-weather track, field events area and indoor training facility, club chairman Patrick McSweeney says that it is now intended to begin work in the near future.
"Our plan is to commence the development sooner rather than later and over the next few months we hope to see progress with clearing and levelling of the site.
"It' something that we have been working towards for a number of years, with a lot of hard work put in by a lot of people. It's a very exciting time to have reached this stage."
The all weather track will be the central part of the new facilities on an eight acre site and at this juncture it is anticipated that the track could be ready for use as early as next year.
"We appreciate that it is a huge financial undertaking, so we will be calling for plenty of assistance and will be looking on our elected representatives to support current and future grant applications. to ensure we can complete our project in a timely manner.
"There will also be various fund raising activities and thus we will be hoping that both the local community in Bandon and the wider athletics community will support these.
"We see this development as being of benefit for many years to come," said Patrick.
When open the new development should be a hub of activity, as the club is second only to Leevale in Cork in terms of numbers.
Athletes from the west of the county who have to travel to the city to avail of the desired all-weather surface for top class training, will now save several hours per week when the new facility opens.
Athletics Ireland registration figures at the end of 2020 showed Bandon with a total of 501 members - 350 of which were juveniles.
These figures indicate that the club is thriving and the future looks very exciting with that huge juvenile membership.
Interestingly the end of year figure was a drop off from 552 at the end of 2019, but it's reflective of the overall trend as the covid 19 pandemic led to an overall decrease nationwide.
Bandon AC has produced many great athletes during their history which spans back to the mid 1960's and nowadays the club name has known in very wide circles thanks to the brilliant feats of star athlete Phil Healy, who incidentally has been recently selected on the Irish mixed 4 x 400 meters relay team for the upcoming World Athletics Silesia21 to be held in Poland over the first weekend in May.