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The finish line is in sight.
Twelve years ago a "needs analysis" was done for a new community and sports facility, based at Jack Reid Park, in Arrowtown. Next weekend that building, the Arrowtown Community Centre, formerly known as the Arrowtown Sports and Community Facility, will be opened.
The building proper has been finished, and some final work is still to be done outside.
It will become the home to the Arrowtown Scouts and Arrowtown Rugby Club, as well as a wide variety of other community groups and users in the village, and it will be available for private hire.
In spring work began on upgrading the playing field which had involved pitch levelling, lengthening, resurfacing and drainage.
Light realignment was to have been done, but that proved too difficult, as the lights had been set in the ground in concrete.
Arrowtown Rugby Club president Simon Spark, who is also the Arrowtown Community and Sports Centre Trust secretary, said it was exciting to finally see the project nearing an end, but there was also a level of apprehension.
"We’ve never had this before.
"The club committee and members have got to step up ... and take some ownership of it."
Arrowtown ward councillor Scott Stevens quipped it was "almost too flash for Arrowtown".
"The referees won’t know what to do with themselves; the visiting teams will want to come here and they’re even going to have hot water.
"It’s not just a rugby club, but when the rugby club is playing out here over winter it’s a very harsh environment, ... having a warm, insulated building is going to be a game changer.
"I think it’s fantastic.
"It’s a testament to this bloke [Mr Spark] and the rest of the committee of the Arrowtown Community and Sports Centre Inc for all of the work that’s gone into it, getting all the funding together and persevering with design over a decade."
The interior has been left largely neutral to reflect its status as a community facility, but panels had been created by Lakes District Museum director David Clark, graphic designer Melissa Hinves, of Arrowtown’s Apt Design, and pupils from Arrowtown School to hang along the main hall, representing Arrowtown.
A tunnel leading from the rugby changing rooms to the field will feature images and photos to represent the club.
"Arrowtown Rugby Club still needs to make it their home and Arrowtown still needs to put its touch on it," Mr Stevens said.
A bonus of the project was the upgraded field, which would hopefully mean home games could be played at the ground all through the winter season, even if that meant the side continued training at the Queenstown Events Centre.
"Likely we’ll be told more when we can and can’t be here — if the winter conditions are leaning towards having frosts, snow, rain, we don’t want to ruin it," Mr Spark said.
"To play and train on the same ground for the whole season is a big call.
"The events centre is a good training facility [and] there’s no point in killing the ground [here], so it’s a balancing act."
While one home game at the new facility was likely early this season, its first major game, against Wakatipu, would be held at Easter, during the club’s jubilee, on April 20.
Mr Spark hoped that would be a White Horse Cup defence for the home side.
"They put a lot of money into the things you don’t see [and] as much as we were hard on the council early on, through the last two or three years, definitely since [sport and recreation manager] Simon Battrick started, there’s been a more interactive approach."
While it "took far too long" for the dream to become a reality, it served as an example of what could be achieved with the council and community working together, he said.
Mr Stevens paid tribute to the Wilding Trust which provided $50,000 of seed funding.
Without that the project would not have been possible.
The building, which cost about $1.5 million, had been "ring-fenced" for community funders and while funders including the Central Lakes Trust and the Community Trust of Southland, had put in "big money", they would not provide grants "until the whole project was completely funded on paper".
"We needed money to get it moving," Mr Stevens said.
"[The Wilding Trust] provided $50,000 which enabled the initial work to begin, so something could get on paper to take to other funders."