Plans 15 years in the making will soon come to fruition in Balmoral, after the federal government allocated $500,000 to the town’s recreation reserve.
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan announced the funding at Balmoral on Saturday.
Dana Smith, treasurer of the venue’s committee, said an upgrade of the existing facilities was first discussed in 2004.
“This funding means we can do what we’ve planned to do, which is amazing,” Mrs Smith said.
“We want to make the venue a community hub for conventions and functions with seating for 200 people, and to replace the existing change rooms and social rooms for our football and netball clubs. At the moment they can’t all fit to eat meals and train.”
Twelve community groups use the reserve, including sports clubs, emergency services and the Balmoral Pastoral and Agricultural Society.
Mrs Smith said the committee expected use to increase once the upgrades were complete.
“We’ve had lots of interest from agricultural training groups that want to use it as a centre and lots of community usage will come from this,” she said.
“The plan is to hold functions, 21st birthdays and wedding receptions here.”
With the funding now secured, Mrs Smith said the committee was focused on attaining the appropriate permits to demolish the site properly, ahead of the planned start date of construction in October.
“We’re hoping to build it over the summer,” she said. “I think we have until 2021 to construct and complete it.”
Mrs Smith estimated the works would cost $972,000 overall and thanked the community for their help in reaching the funding goal.
“We’ve raised $472,000 ourselves,” she said.
“We’ve been so lucky to have the community chip in, and Southern Grampians Shire, the Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation and Bendigo Bank have supported us with grants.
“It’s amazing for a little town of 400, and it’s been a long time coming.”
The reserve received the money under round three of the Building Better Regions Fund.