Years of planning, design after design, meetings that at times were frustrating, and a whole lot of waiting.
An all-weather track and grandstand for athletes of Dubbo and the wider region was always the dream but the process wasn't always easy for David Williams and those involved.
The former Dubbo Athletics Club president was one of the most key figures during the planning and building of Barden Park and, like everyone else, was delighted when the facility finally opened in November of 2014.
It was a landmark occasion. There was nothing like it in country NSW at the time and while other towns and cities may be planning similar facilities of their own, it still remains unmatched.
Friday, November 14. That night saw competition at the newly-constructed Barden Park Centre of Excellence for Athletics take place for the first time.
A multi-million dollar world-class facility giving the region's athletes the kind of opportunity many before them could have only dreamt of.
The official opening was held later in the month, during the staging of the Little Athletics Western Plain Zone championships.
Dignitaries from all over attended that event, heaping praise on the facility.
"It's still a bit hard to take in," Williams said at the time, while members of council, and state and federal government were at the track.
"You're sitting at the end of the track and it's like you're in Sydney at Homebush. I spoke to someone from Sydney who said it would be close to the second best facility in NSW now and in some aspects it's probably better than Homebush because it's a bit older now."
That was high praise but it wasn't uncommon.
The all-weather synthetic track, one that was up to all international standards, was the biggest talking point but having a grandstand and storage facilities alone was huge for Dubbo athletics.
It offered the chance to run events like hammer throw and steeplechase, which hadn't been possible before, while all the regular track and field events could be staged with ease.
It was immediately clear to see the benefits as Payton Smede, the reigning Dubbo Junior Sportsperson of the Year at the time, starred at the zone championships and smashed the record in the 100m hurdles.
The general reaction of the kids was special.David Williams
Those at the top of their game could improve further, while many were given an introduction to the sport through the facility.
"You get a kid from Bourke whose never even seen a synthetic track before, that's the kind of stuff that's really good," Williams added at that first championships.
"There's no doubt this will make a world of difference when kids are able to run on a track like this, it's more the way they get to feel rather than the results or performances."
It wasn't just those involved in athletics who hailed Barden Park at the official opening.
"It's just another wonderful facility that Dubbo has that lifts our standard overall in Dubbo to a new standard," Mathew Dickerson, the mayor at the time, said at the opening.
"Our kids can dream now about not just what they'll do on the local level, but they can dream about state, national and international level."
What Williams said at the time still resonates the most now, all these years later.
The tiring and seemingly endless work behind the scenes was one thing, getting to see it completed was another, but witnessing children experience a facility like nothing they'd come across before for the first time is something he remembers fondly.
"Over the years you see kids run out on the track on a high," he said.
"They're bouncing around on it and saying it feels soft and they're getting down to touch it.
"They do that and say it's unreal. The general reaction of the kids was special.
"It's a thrill for the kids and it's so different to running on grass. That's the big thing.
"It's for the athletes and they get an opportunity to race and compete at a quality venue."
Williams may no longer be Dubbo Athletics Club president but he remains passionate about the sport and can still be found at the track on a regular occasion.
"There's nothing like it this side of the Blue Mountains," he added.
"The really big thing is the opportunity for kids to run on a track like that because if they progress that's where they'll end up."
It hasn't all been smooth sailing since Barden Park opened but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Questions about accessing the facility, the impact having every major carnival in Dubbo has on smaller centres, and maintenance have all been questioned at times.
But when you look at the levels athletes from Dubbo and the region have reached those concerns fade.
Millie Gooch, Maya Piras, Ella Penman, Lockie Townsend, Nosa Obaseki.
They are just some of the young athletes who have benefited from competing and, more importantly, training at the elite facility and they've gone on to perform at the highest level.
Johnson, who visited during the lead-up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, went as far to say athletes eager to escape scrutiny in training could do a lot worse than base themselves at Dubbo before the Games.
That shows the standard of Barden Park.
"The surface is as good as anywhere in the world," Williams said.