Whangārei's Jubilee Park looks more like a playing field now the grass has been mowed - and other work is planned to start within the next few weeks.
Once the premier rugby league pitch in Northland, situated at the southern entrance to central Whangārei, the park has been in a decrepit state for more than a decade, but a group has begun work to restore the ground to its former glory.
The park is owned by the Whangārei City and Districts Rugby League.
Former Northland rugby league forward Riki Shelford and 11 others were recently appointed to the league board and have taken it upon themselves to restore the ground and restart the premier competition, among other initiatives.
Deputy chairman Haemish Reid said a working bee would be arranged shortly to begin work on the groundstand, old clubrooms, fencing and other work that needed to be done.
Anyone keen to see Jubilee Park up and running could form part of the working bee, he said.
A farming contractor has cut the grass on the pitch and a cash donation has also come in since the Northern Advocate ran a story last month about plans for the park by the new committee.
"Lots of people are talking to us. A retired man who has no link with rugby league and used to live beside the park during its heydays has given a considerable donation. He's happy at the effort to restore the ground," Reid said.
"He has seen it deteriorate over the years and wants the park restored to benefit the younger people."
The retiree declined a request for an interview.
The committee, consisting of a coterie of former and current players, administrators and referees, was spurred into action following the inaugural Northland rugby league representatives reunion in Whangārei in August last year.
They are reaching out to the community for help to get the park up to scratch next year, before competitions and public events could be staged from 2023.
All committee members are in agreement the park will not be sold.
Reid has sprayed weedkiller on the fence perimeter and along the bank, while a group of students have helped remove fencing on top of the embankment along Tarewa Rd.
Those interested in helping the committee can contact Shelford on 0210 2978265 or Reid on 021 987460.