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Saints to move training base to Seaford in 2010

Robert Harvey, pictured when he announced his retirement, started his junior career with Seaford
ST KILDA will move its training and development base from Moorabbin to Belvedere Oval in Seaford – the original football home of club legend Robert Harvey –  during the 2010 season.

The Saints were initially set to move to Frankston Park in Frankston, but St Kilda and the Frankston City Council signed a heads of agreement on Tuesday to start planning and development at Belvedere Oval immediately.

St Kilda opted for Belvedere Oval because the Frankston Park move would cost more than originally estimated.

The Saints believe the Belvedere Park precinct gives the club a financially secure, elite training base facility that will also benefit the local community.

St Kilda chief executive Archie Fraser said it was a great move for the club and one that had history linked to it.

"The Saints are delighted that Frankston City Council and mayor Alistair Wardle has approved the relocation of our proposed training facility to Seaford; the very same ground that Robert Harvey played his first game of football," Fraser said.

"This decision to partner with Frankston, announced over 12 months ago, is part of our long-term strategic plan to continue to grow and develop our membership/supporter base and unlock the power of our brand across the Bayside area.

"While the process has taken longer than we had hoped, the club has a duty of care to its members and we sought advice on all available options.

"Belvedere Park not only provides us with a foundation upon which to build a state of the art training facility, but it also allows us to create a sporting precinct for the entire community to use which is a brilliant outcome for local residents as well as the St Kilda Football Club."

St Kilda's $11million training and administration facility will include an MCG-sized oval, gymnasium, rehabilitation pool, meeting rooms, lecture theatre and an indoor sports hall for basketball, netball and other sports that will be made available to local schools, health providers and sporting associations.

The project will be funded by the Victorian State Government ($3.45 million), Frankston City Council ($3 million), AFL ($2.55 million) and St Kilda ($1.43 million, plus all additional costs). The council has forecast more than $42.5 million for on-flow community benefits.

With four grounds at Belvedere Oval, the council will undertake improvements to bring one of the community grounds up to AFL playing standards, with the same dimensions as the MCG.

Although predominantly used by the Saints, it will also be used as a training venue by TAC Cup team, the Dandenong Stingrays. It will also be a game-day venue for local competitions.