It is understandable that residents want to know when the £42 million community stadium complex will be fully open for business.
Taxpayers will point out that around £10 million of the costs have come out of their pockets.
Originally scheduled for a 2012 opening, delays dogged the project. Even after contracts had been signed for a June 2019 opening “labour shortages” meant that the actual stadium opening was put back to the autumn 2019 and then to the Spring 2020.
It seemed that the dates were firming up as the IMAX cinema admitted its first paying customers before Christmas while an excitable gaggle of Councillors started tweeted pictures of the “finished” stadium.
The Knights Rugby Club said that their first home fixture of the new season would take place at the stadium on 9th February. The stadium was also set to host a big “double header” with Super League clubs Toronto and Wakefield facing off on the 22nd March.
Questions at a York City supporters forum led to a statement from an executive councillor last week who confirmed that a transport plan was in place. It would get large crowds to the out of town, 8000 capacity, stadium site. (Currently, York City matches attract around 2500 spectators)
However, it remained unclear whether joint entry/transport tickets would be sold and information about public transport capacity was scarce, given that the opening (rugby) fixture was less than a month away.
A “trial” dinner event was then cancelled, and the Knights said that their 9th February fixture might have to be moved to Bootham Crescent.
We think that the stadium will be an asset for the City. When the interest level stabilises, after the first couple of games, transport arrangements should also be adequate.
We are less convinced about the viability of some of the other elements of the development not least the additional swimming pool.
But we are, where we are.
The Council and its contractors should now be able to give a clear programme of actions leading up to firm commissioning and hand-over dates.
NB. Local side York Acorn Rugby got off to a winning start on Saturday in their cup match against Hammersmith Hills Hoist. The score line was 36 points to 14. There were no problems accommodating the crowd at the Thanet Road Stadium (!)