Hawke's Bay's newest sports stadium will open later this year – fully booked for competition and social sport in 2023 but possibly with as much as a $2 million funding hangover.
But the game is on to get the final funding for the 5900sq m addition to the Pettigrew Green Arena complex at Taradale over the line.
Regional Indoor Sports and Events Centre Trust chairman Craig Waterhouse said this week: "It's costing $20m. We've only got $18m. We're short of money still, two million dollars short."
He promised it will open on time regardless, with the first sport on the floor in August meeting a demand identified at least as long ago as 2005, just two years after the Pettigrew Green Arena opened.
Amid rocketing space demands, it's a community stadium for basketball, volleyball, netball, futsal and other sport played at local competition and social levels.
The new build, adding six courts, will treble the amount of space available for the sports on the now expansive site, opposite and closely linked to the EIT.
The PGA opened in April 2003 with three courts, and retractable seating for spectator events such as the home games of now high-ranking national basketball league side the Hawks.
Using local companies, such as Lattey Group which has laid the concrete, and Red Steel which has erected the vast framework, construction started in July last year, with as much as $5m still required.
It was at the time given a big boost by the injection of $6.4m from the Government's Infrastructure Reference Group Covid Response and Recovery Fund.
Other major support includes $4.1m from the Napier City Council, $3m from the New Zealand Lotteries Significant Project Fund, $350,000 from the Royston Health Trust, and $200,000 from the Eastern and Central Community Trust.
There has also been "massive" support from the EIT and a goal of $800,000 from gaming foundations.
But naming rights are still on offer for the stadium and the courts, currently collectively under the handle Arenas Hawke's Bay.
Waterhouse, who was this week taking a quick look at the site with new arena general manager Janene Dixon-Smith, said that in 2005 local councils and the Sports trust identified "a significant shortage of indoor court space" in Hawke's Bay.
"Since then, basketball has become the largest participation sport in secondary schools, and volleyball has become the fastest-growing sport in secondary schools," he said, and futsal growth in Hawke's Bay had been significantly held back due to the lack of indoor court space.
"The investment in the facility is the single-most significant investment ever made in the future well-being of Hawke's Bay youth," he said.
Consequently, the trust has commitments for the full use of the facility in 2023 when the build will be in its first full year of operation.
It focuses on the benefits of team sports to communities and society, and he said: "Once completed, the unique regular sports users of the facilities will be over 20,000 per annum, with 90 per cent of the users being under 19 years of age."
"Sport connects communities," he said. "The lack of indoor facilities in Hawke's Bay has undermined this sense of connection."