It has been a project more than a year in the making, but the Inverell Sporting Complex's new clubhouse has officially opened.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, Mayor Paul Harmon and representatives of several community organisations were at the new clubhouse on Tuesday where Mr Marshall and Cr Harmon performed the official duties.
"From the start, I think it would be a couple of years for people or even longer than that to get something done with the old building," Sports council president Kerry Stafford said.
"The Shire is very progressive with what they do for sport in the town, so it is good."
Mr Marshall boasted Inverell had some of the best sporting facilities in the region and said the new clubhouse, rounding out a trio of developments over previous years at Varley Oval and Cameron Park, could see Inverell rival Tamworth as a centre for sporting excellence.
"This is enormous for Inverell," Mr Marshall said.
"I think people often underestimate the value that sport plays - not only in keeping people healthy and producing the next generation of sports stars to compete on the state, national and international level - but the value that sport brings to your local economy.
There is absolutely no doubt in my view that pound-for-pound, Inverell has some of the best sporting facilities of any, of any community in the New England North West.Adam Marshall, MP
"I know Tamworth likes to rabbit on about all of its stuff, but pound-for-pound, nothing can get around a community of over 12,000 people in Inverell and to have the facilities that you have is an envied mark of distinction."
Cr Harmon said the new facility would "ratchet up" the sports complex and cement Inverell's reputation as a centre for sport in the region.
"It really is a great facility for our community, and it really does cap off this wonderful sporting facility we have here," he said.
"It really does just add something to the wonderful facilities that we have here."
Cr Harmon said the next item on the sporting facilities agenda for council would likely plan to rejuvenate the Inverell aquatic centre.
"Certainly one of the things we need to be looking at as a council is our aquatic centre." he said.
"We know that those memorial pools are reaching the age where they need a revamp and that, in my mind, if forefront in council's planning process to look at. We need to be looking at an upgrade of that whole facility there."
The Inverell Lions Club will be the first to use the new clubhouse on Tuesday at 2pm, where they will host a demonstration of automated external defibrillators, which will be delivered to locations around town after the club raised more than $30,000 to purchase 12 machines for local sporting fields.
The sports complex construction project was funded in part by the state government's club grant program.