Runners, walkers and cyclists are set to benefit from a major facility investment in Merthyr.
The upgrade of the track at Afon Tâf High School in Troedyrhiw will also mean the pupils having access for sport and exercise for curricular and extra-curricular activity.
Starting early in 2021, work will see the existing gravel track replaced with a modern tarmac surface with associated drainage. New portable lighting also means the track can be used throughout the winter months.
The existing surface was laid in 1967 and, although repair work has been done over the years, it is outdated and in need of upgrade.
The grant through Sport Wales is being made possible thanks to investment from Welsh Government. Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council will also provide substantial funds for the project.
Owen Hathway, assistant director at Sport Wales, said:
“Despite the surface we know that the track has been well used by local clubs and groups and demand to use the facility has grown.
“The partnership between the council, school and clubs, and the work being put into this sporting hub, really is a credit to the community.
“More people being able to enjoy more quality opportunities is now a step closer.”
Speaking about the plans, Merthyr Sports Development Manager Dan Bufton commented:
“The focus of the track development is to provide those wanting to run, walk or cycle in a safe space, at a facility that can be used day or night, all year round.
We know from working with local clubs and providers that there is a real need to provide a facility for those who are not confident to utilise the roads and trails, as well as the wider community.
“We’re delighted to be working collaboratively with Afon Tâf on this project.”
Stephen Baber, Deputy Head of Afon Tâf High School added:
“We are delighted that the funding has been secured for the relaying of the track at Afon Tâf.
“Whilst this will undoubtedly improve even further the learning experiences for our pupils, we are equally thrilled that it will allow us to strengthen our partnership working with external bodies such as Merthyr Tydfil Triathlon Club, and provide a fantastic resource for community use.
“This is an incredibly exciting venture for #TeamTâf.”
Councillor Geraint Thomas, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Public Protection stated:
“The resurfacing of the running track will enhance the growth of our walking, cycling and running groups in the borough and give them a safe place to participate all year round in conjunction with our beautiful countryside.
“The track is strategically positioned in the middle of the borough and will become our centre for new opportunities moving forward.
“Our plans are to improve the quality of sports facilities at schools that can be used by pupils and co-ordinated community use.”