Planning under way for Memorial Hall farewell

Cromwell Memorial Hall. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Cromwell Memorial Hall. PHOTO: ODT FILES
It’s the end of an era.

After more than six decades of memories, it is time for the Cromwell community to bid farewell to the town’s Memorial Hall.

But first, the Cromwell RSA will get to commemorate one final Anzac Day at the original hall before the gardens and cenotaph are relocated to the new site.

Last month, Central Otago district councillors approved the $45.8million project to replace the existing hall with a new, multi-use facility — complete with auditorium, cafe, museum, cinema, meeting rooms and a variety of public spaces.

The new complex will be built on the same Melmore Tce site where the original 60-year-old hall sits.

The project is finally progressing after years of indecision, seeming inaction and calls from the community to "just get on with it".

It is believed to be the "most significant and ambitious capital project ever undertaken" by the council.

The hall closed permanently in June 2022 in preparation for demolition. However, it has sat vacant and unused until now while plans for the new hall progressed.

At a meeting of the Cromwell Community Board on Tuesday, board members were updated on plans for a community farewell to be held later this month.

The proposed programme will include a dawn blessing by iwi followed by speeches from the community board chairwoman and the mayor.

Refreshments at the Town and Country Club will follow the formalities.

The community will be invited to attend, along with former mayors and community board chairs, members of the stakeholder engagement group and others who had close connection to the facility.

Deputy Mayor Neil Gillespie suggested it would be appropriate to have a former mayor of the Cromwell Borough Council speak and Mayor Tim Cadogan agreed.

The date for the community farewell is yet to be decided, but it will be either Friday April 26 or Monday April 29.