SCOTLAND manager Craig Levein officially opened the Parklea community sports hub in Port Glasgow today.
The national football team coach was guest of honour at a ceremony at the £6 million development which includes an all-weather pitch the same size as Hampden Park, a new community sports pavilion incorporating modern changing facilities, a clubhouse and extensive parking.
Young players from Port Glasgow Juniors and Port Glasgow Boys' Club took part in the oepning event.
Craig Levein said: "These facilities can only inspire people to get involved in football and to be more active more often. Scotland's passion for football is recognised around the world and that passion is reflected in these world class facilities. I am sure Parklea will become a huge draw for players and supporters from across Scotland and can only benefit our efforts to develop grassroots talent, to the benefit of the national game."
The new 3G all-weather pitch satisfies Scottish Junior Football Association regulations and is the new home ground for Port Glasgow Juniors. A second 3G pitch has also been installed and drainage work carried out on eight grass pitches.
Members of the public and other local teams will be able to use the new facilities, as well as American Football and rugby clubs.
sportscotland – the lead agency for the development of sport in Scotland – contributed £500,000 to the project.
Inverclyde Council Environment and Regeneration Convener Councillor Michael McCormick said: "Parklea is a centre of excellence for the Beautiful Game in the west of Scotland and I am delighted that Craig agreed to perform the official opening.
"We are fortunate to have what is probably one of the best playing surfaces in Scotland right here in Inverclyde and it is a tremendous accolade to have our new facility endorsed by the man in charge of our national team.
"Sport is very much in the forefront of people’s minds with the Olympics underway in London and indeed the Olympic football games at Hampden. I am confident Parklea will live up to its potential as a premier venue for training and playing and will attract clubs, groups and organisations from far and wide.”
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: "We’re developing a world-class sporting infrastructure in Scotland, and facilities such as the Parklea Community Sports Hub are intrinsic to achieving that aim. Sportscotland is pleased to have part-funded the Parklea development, as it provides the local community of Port Glasgow and further afield with an accessible top-class, multi-sport facility.”
Inverclyde Council Leader Councillor Stephen McCabe added: "Our Leisure Strategy is a key element in transforming Inverclyde and to give our communities the opportunities for a healthier lifestyle, enjoying all of the social and physical benefits sport can bring. I am sure the Olympic events in London and across the UK are inspiring a great many people to get involved in sporting activities and here in Inverclyde we are delivering on our promise to give them state-of-the-art facilities.”
Paisley-based Barr Construction has been the main contractor on the construction. Barclay Chalmers, managing director of Barr Construction, said: "This has been a tremendous summer for sport across the UK and facilities such as Parklea can only encourage participation in sport even further. This has been a fantastic project to work on and we are confident the provision of these facilities will be warmly welcomed by local people in Port Glasgow and across the west of Scotland as a whole.”