Perthshire will be the home of a new international Highland Games training centre as organisers push ahead with the ambitious project in Crieff.
Crieff Highland Gathering (CHG) confirmed plans for the new facility are now entering the second stage with the project set to receive £1 million from the Tay Cities Deal.
The international athlete training centre will be built at Market Park and will double as year-round hub for the Crieff community.
The project is also set to provide a jobs and economic boost for the town.
The CHG committee has completed a need analysis for the unique facility and will now move forward with the plans in the new year following the expected signing of the Tay Cities Deal on Thursday.
Anna McLean, chairwoman of CHG, told The Courier: “It certainly has been quite some time since we received confirmation that our ambition to establish a unique home and international training centre for athletes as well as a building that could be utilised by the local community had been agreed to be included with the Tay Cities deal.
“To now receive confirmation that the Tay Cities Deal will be signed off by the Government before the year end gives us the assurance to drive the momentum forward on this project.”
In addition to the £1 million from the deal, CHG are seeking further grants and funding to “ensure the building can deliver on key objectives”.
Following a consultation with local organisations the committee envision a centre which will become a hub for health, wellbeing and sport for the whole community.
Anna said: “Community engagement has been taking place with feedback so far extremely positive.
“We believe it is important that the local community benefits from this development. The next stage will be a full feasibility study with financial and facility management planning and initial sketch by November 2021.
“Extremely exciting times ahead for not only Crieff Highland Gathering but the community of Crieff.”
CHG say they have identified key organisations which could make Market Park their new home and the centre will provide facilities to help these organisations grow.
Initial plans for the purpose-built Crieff International Highland Centre stated it would the first of its kind in Scotland and will be a world base for Highland sports, dance and music.
Crieff Highland Gathering was cancelled this year in what was set to be their 150th anniversary – but Anna expects a 2021 return for the event which attracts around 10,000 visitor to the town each year.