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High hopes for Swanpool

The Swanpool community near Benalla is hoping to secure a $350,000 grant to help revitalise the district.

ANGELA TOWNSEND February 6, 2013 4:59am

Swanpool Hall Committee president Ian Herbert is excited about the possibility of securing a large grant to improve the grounds and facilities of Swanpool.


The Swanpool community is holding its collective breath in the hopes of receiving a large Victorian Government grant to further develop the town’s hub.

Swanpool Hall and Reserve Committee president Ian Herbert addressed council at last week’s meeting, seeking support in applying for one of five Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) grants of $350000 for communities with less than 1500 population.

The grant is for an ‘‘Arts Transformation’’ including listing a gathering space from a under-utilised public space through an artistic intervention or an architectural structure as its first point.

The committee is confident Swanpool has as good a chance as any other small community of securing funding and has already created a concept layout on paper.

Mr Herbert said two disused tennis courts adjacent to the hall would be transformed if the group was successful — although committee members were determined it was going to happen anyway — with a garden area incorporating an amphitheatre, children’s play area, landscaped native garden and a rock sculpture by local indigenous artist Chris Thorne.

A giant outdoor cinema screen would top it off.

Plans of the proposal have been posted locally, at the general store and the hall.

‘‘The whole idea is for it to look like a swish work of art,’’ Mr Herbert said.

‘‘It would also broaden our offering from just cinema.’’

The committee is also seeking a $25000 council contribution and assistance with accessible parking at the site, and an upgrade to the toilet facilities, which are used by passing motorists regularly.

The Swanpool community has gone from strength to strength during the years and has a number of active community groups and organisations that have worked hard to achieve this.

Swanpool is also the home of the Swanpool Cinema; a 1950s-style cinema that has provided Benalla and district with an array of foreign and art house movies for more than 20 years.

It became a not-for-profit, community-run cinema in January last year and will also be the temporary home of the Bald Archy Exhibition in August (see page 11).

The community has previously enjoyed funding success for various programs and initiatives, such as an upgrade to the cinema, and has received a number of accolades, including 14 Tidy Town awards.

Swap and meet, village market days and show and shine events have all been well received.

For more information, phone Swanpool Hall and Reserve Committee president Ian Herbert on 57682342.

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