It’s a pride day for Ipswich, as the first sod is turned to mark the start of construction on the $70 million boutique arena at Springfield Central, that will become home to the Brisbane Lions.
A joint initiative of the Lions, Australian Football League, Springfield City Group, Ipswich City Council, and the State and Federal Governments, the complex will also house important community facilities.
The arena will be called Brighton Homes Arena.
Mayor Teresa Harding said the city was excited to welcome the Lions to the region and to have access to world-class facilities.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the reigning ALFW Premiers to the City of Ipswich – and their male colleagues – as the first major football code to call our community home,” she said.
“With work beginning soon, we’re looking forward to watching one of the country’s leading AFLW teams play future seasons right here in our city.
“Today shows Ipswich is the region of choice for elite sport looking for a place to grow their brand and their presence, in the city with the nation’s fastest growing population, who come for our affordable and liveable lifestyle.
“On top of seating for 10,000, the new complex will feature additional parking, a swimming pool, community and education spaces, a café, and importantly, community football fields to help inspire the next generation’s Emma Zielke or Dayne Zorko.
“Council has contributed $20 million to this project, and will own the facility once complete, as an investment in high-standard community sports facilities for the whole city.
“In addition to several hundred jobs during construction, securing the Brisbane Lions will bring significant opportunities for small businesses in Ipswich to do business with Queensland’s largest sports club, and an icon of our sporting landscape.
“Today is an extremely proud day for the City of Ipswich, and I’ll be very excited to see the first centre bounce very soon.”
The facility is expected to be ready to host AFLW premiership matches, AFL season preliminaries and training, and North-East AFL competition matches from the second half of 2022.
In planning and development for a decade, construction will be managed by principle contractors Hutchinson Builders, and owned by Ipswich City Council when complete.