Hub push for funds

Macedon locals are fighting to keep momentum for a much-anticipated community hub as they face a cost blowout for the project.
Volunteers are seeking $90,000 in Macedon Ranges Council’s 2020/21 budget to meet the funding shortfall for the building contract and continue efforts.
Macedon’s Samara Hodson said the community had rallied behind the project and would be disappointed and frustrated if it came to an end.
“There’s been so much momentum and publicity behind this enthusiasm gathered for this house. If the momentum stops people will think this is just not ever going to happen,” Ms Hodson said.
Ms Hodson was part of a group of dedicated locals who united to save the town’s treasured former maternal and child health care centre from council sale last year.
The 1940s weatherboard at 47 Victoria Street survived Ash Wednesday but has sat unused since December 2016. Last year the council took a chance on a community plan to breathe new life into the building.
The town lacked a community hub that could facilitate a range of activities such as a community garden and kitchen, workshops, providing meeting spaces and hosting events.
The council allocated $186,000 in last year’s budget towards its overhaul with the community to fundraise $30,000 and find in-kind support totalling $43,500 towards the works.
A committee formed and raised $13,600 from 66 donors through an online campaign that was bolstered by a donation from the founding friends, bringing the total raised to $31,797.
Macedon’s Samara Hodson said the community had well and truly fulfilled its end of the agreement and it would be disappointing to have to return the community funds.
She said volunteers had committed countless hours to the project in anticipation that the doors to the community house may open in 2020.
“There has been a groundswell of support. Project donors have been anticipating refurbishments to commence before the end of the financial year and a prospective lease to be taken up later in 2020,” Ms Hodson said.
“If this project does not progress the community would be justified in feeling disappointed.”
Macedon Ranges Council continues to deliberate its 2020/21 budget.

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