FOUR years after a devastating Black Saturday fire swept through Haven, the town is in the running for the 2013 Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria Tidy Towns awards.
Haven Recreation Reserve Committee is a finalist in the Community Government Partnerships category, which recognises outstanding partnerships between community and government.
With eight new, state-of-the-art tennis courts, new picnic facilities and a new school built, committee member and Horsham Rural City councillor Sue Exell said the town was a haven once more.
She said people were playing on the new tennis courts less than six months after construction started in February.
An official opening ceremony will be held on the first weekend in October to celebrate the Wimmera's week of tennis.
Cr Exell said enrolments at the Haven campus of Horsham West-Haven Primary School had doubled since 2009, the year the bushfire raged around Haven.
"One week after the fire went through, they poured the slab for the new school," Cr Exell said.
She said plans to rebuild were already in place before the fire.
"There are more than 100 students already enrolled for next year, right beside the new courts," she said.
Cr Exell said Haven visitors could also make use of a new gazebo, picnic tables and new public toilets, all of which came from bushfire recovery grants.
Six information panels nearby share some of Haven's history, a development pertinent to the town's centenary this year, she said.
Cr Exell said Wimmera Uniting Care had contributed some landscaping in several locations around town.
"Basically, it's taken us four years to finish our fire projects," she said.
Haven's recovery is one of five Horsham projects that are finalists in the Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria Tidy Towns awards.
In addition to the city's nomination in the state's Sustainable Community of the Year category, Green Lake Foreshore Committee is nominated in the Clean Beach category for improving the lake's foreshore.
A Don't Rubbish Horsham litter reduction initiative is a finalist in the Litter Prevention category.
Horsham's Skate Park development could earn the Horsham Youth Park Establishment the Young Leaders award.
Wimmera Health Care Group has been nominated for the Resource Recovery and Waste Management category for its Blue Frog campaign.
Winners will be announced at Wycheproof on October 12.
Horsham Tidy Towns Committee chairman Don Johns congratulated all the community groups on their magnificent results.
"Horsham has excelled in the Tidy Towns promotion during the past 30 years, and I personally thank the citizens of Horsham and the groups who have made it possible to be successful," he said.
He said he was optimistic about the chances of Horsham's six finalists.