THE state government has provided an $800,000 grant to Lake Macquarie City Council to help transform the heritage-listed Rathmines Community Hall into a versatile performing arts centre.
The hall has been closed since October 2015 because of asbestos and maintenance issues.
Independent Member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper, joined mayor Kay Fraser for the announcement on Tuesday.
“The Rathmines hall is listed on the state’s heritage register and was very much loved and well used by the Rathmines and Fishing Point communities before it was shut down,” Mr Piper said.
“Not only will the hall’s heritage features be repaired, the project also includes new and upgraded bathrooms, dressing rooms for performers, upgraded audio and visual equipment and improved ventilation.”
Council’s community assets delivery coordinator, Brent Wellham, said tenders for the work would close on March 27.
He said tenders would be assessed, and a heritage architect likely to be appointed in May. Works were expected to start at the end of this year, and spill into 2019, he said.
Mayor Kay Fraser said the works would create a much-needed performance space for the Westlakes area.
The redevelopment would include a professional fit-out that would make the hall suitable for “theatrical, dance and musical performances, festivals, pop-up galleries and exhibitions”, Cr Fraser said.
Mr Piper said the grant was issued under the Stronger Country Communities Fund.
“I appreciate the state government’s help on these projects, along with the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, who has assisted in getting the grants approved,” Mr Piper said.
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