$1.4m hall grant 'great news'

Neil Gillespie.
Neil Gillespie.
A $1.4 million grant towards the proposed  refurbishment of Cromwell Memorial Hall is "great news" and further appreciated for its pragmatism, Cromwell Community Board  chairman Neil Gillespie says.

The Central Lakes Trust  grant, announced this week, will provide 25% of the project costs up to a maximum of $1.4million, regardless of what design option is decided upon.

Trust chairman Tony Hill said the trust appreciated the project had been under consideration for several years and that there was widespread community support for an upgrade of the facility.

"We are also aware there has been much debate and differing community views on what is the most appropriate design option. It is important to note that this grant is not aligned to any particular redevelopment design option. Therefore, should the specifications of an upgrade be amended or if an alternative design option is decided upon, this grant will still apply."

Mr Gillespie said the way the grant had been structured,  acknowledging the debate over the hall’s design and making the funding available regardless of what design was chosen,  was "very pragmatic".

It took 16 years of community debate to approve the hall’s design, but the project is not over the starting line yet, as community board member Robin Dicey has filed a notice of motion to suspend all work relating to the upgrade and get costings for three new build options.

Mr Dicey and Mr Gillespie declined to comment further on Mr Dicey’s notice of motion, which will be discussed by the board next week.

The board has also applied for two other grants for the Cromwell hall upgrade, one from the Lottery Grants Board and one from the Otago Community Trust.

The trust’s grant for the hall stipulates that the rest of the funding for the project needs to have been secured before the trust grant becomes available.

Half of the $5.4million hall upgrade is scheduled to come from grants, and the other half from land sales.


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