Gathering Place: the update 

By Luke East

Fundraising for Te Awamutu’s Gathering Place has topped the $1.2 million mark.

Two weeks ago the Te Awamutu News reported that the Te Awamutu Presbyterian Church had put a proposal to Waipa District Council to purchase a block of their land on Mutu Street to provide much needed parking spaces in the CBD area.

The sale of this and another block will help finance the construction of a new regional community complex – The Gathering Place.

The project is expected to cost $3.3 million and has been a labour of love for Ray Miller and members of the Property Planning Committee who have sought to create a complex which is based on extensive community feedback and nationwide best-practice design.

The new building will house a youth centre, creche, two counselling rooms, commercial kitchen, seminar room, hall with sprung flooring (meaning it could be used for indoor sport or dance), small playground and an auditorium seating 150 people.

Ray says the new centre will be a hub in the CBD area and will meet the needs of the community all year round.

He says already there has been interest from stakeholders in hiring the auditorium, using the counselling rooms and other parts of the complex – despite the fact that ground is not scheduled to be broken on the complex’s construction until late next year.

The main St Andrew’s Presbyterian church building had stood on the site from 1960 but was demolished in October 2015 after lying unused for around 18 months. It had been classified as an earthquake risk.

The new Community Complex will be built to the highest earthquake standards.

Earlier this year we reported that more than $1.1m had been raised – the latest total is $1.215m.

Ray Miller said the Property Planning Committee was grateful for the community support at a time when Covid-19 was having such an impact.

He said there had been generous donations from both local and out-of-town people and businesses had continuously financially supported the project.

A successful sale of the two blocks would leave a relatively small amount to secure before construction can begin next year.

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