The eight-hectare Penfold Park in Sha Tin, which was built in 1978 together with the surrounding Sha Tin Racecourse, is set to undergo a major transformation in the next two to three years, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
According to the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), its manager, a quarter of the public park’s premises will be repurposed for horse-related activities, including the construction of a small stable to offer horse-riding opportunities for visitors.
At present, the HKJC offers horse-riding courses at its three public riding schools in Tuen Mun, Pok Fu Lam, and Lei Yue Mun Park.
There are over 4,000 applicants for classes for those aged 15 or above and 5,300 for those aged between six and 14. Each riding lesson is offered at around HK$300. The waiting time for applicants is at least three years.
Under the redevelopment plan, a pet zone and a garden will also be established within the park, while the platform of the second public stand in the racecourse will be turned into a multi-purpose sports complex.
Sources said four volleyball courts and four basketball courts, or two five-a-side football pitches, are also being planned for the 55,000-square-foot space. Construction is estimated to take six months.
The new facilities will be open for rentals by schools and associations at similar rates charged by the Leisure and Culture Services Department.
Also, the 1.2-kilometer bicycle trail and pavement outside the racecourse and along the Shing Mun River will be widened.
The Jockey Club said the Penfold Park renovation could start as soon as mid-2018 and would take about 18 months to complete.
The Penfold Park was leased by the government to the HKJC in 1977 under a private recreational lease, which was subsequently renewed for another 15 years in 1997.
When the lease expired in June 2012, the site was offered to the HKJC under short-term leases.
In 2015, the Executive Council approved a plan to rent out Penfold Park to the Jockey Club under a special purpose lease for 50 years, on the condition that the HKJC would undertake improvement work on facilities at the park and the racecourse. The lease was officially entered into in September 2016.
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