ARARAT - The Alexandra Oval redevelopment received a boost last Sunday when Federal Minister for Regional Australia, Local Government and Territories Catherine King formally announced an additional $500,000 in funding for the project.
The newest grant comes from the Federal government's Regional Development Australia Fund and will be added to the $1.15 million from the State government which was announced earlier this year.
The RDA funding is seen as the final piece of the puzzle needed to complete stage one of the facility upgrade which will see Alexandra Oval transformed into a first class multipurpose sporting hub.
Ararat Rural City Council also approved a planning permit for the development at Council's meeting on Tuesday night.
Councillor Gwenda Allgood said it had taken a long time to reach this stage of the redevelopment and was pleased to see the project receiving government support.
"This has been ten years in the making. It has been a long, long journey and I know there is great excitement around town," she said.
"I always believed we would get it, it was just a matter of how and when we would get it. It's a fabulous project and something we as a Council can be very, very proud of.
"It has taken a lot of work and a lot of effort, but it is an awful lot of money so you realise you have got to put in the hard yards if you're going to be able to come up with this sort of achievement. I am looking forward to the old building going and the new building going up, that's for sure."
Ararat Rural City chief executive officer Andrew Evans said the $500,000 in RDA funding is not dependent on which political party holds government and that the project will receive the funding regardless of the outcome of September's Federal Election.
"The election has no impact on that money, that money is already committed and we've already signed the contracts," he said.
Once the tender process is complete Mr Evans said the Ararat Rural City Council will add an additional sum of between $200,000 and $500,000 to the current $1 million dollars already budgeted towards the project.
Ararat Community Enterprise, the Ararat Football/Netball Club and Alexandra Oval Committee of Management will also allocate funding towards the redevelopment.
Expressions of interest for the Alexandra Oval project tender have been advertised and Committee of Management chairperson Gayle Dadswell said there had been a positive response.
"We now have a short list of nine contractors who will be getting the full tender documents and then that process will be open for three weeks closing at the end of September," she said.
"The tender will have to be accepted at the October Council Meeting and if that all goes smoothly construction can hopefully begin shortly after.
"I guess it will depend on other projects the contractor has to finish but we are hoping they'd be starting before Christmas."
Ms Dadswell said the latest RDA funding announcement was fantastic news.
"The extra funding certainly helps and it means we might be able to add back in some things that were taken out to fit the money we had for the project," she said.
"Until the tender comes back in we are not sure of the exact cost but now with this extra half a million it definitely ensures the two buildings (change rooms and social/function room) will be completed.
"It may also mean we can add in landscaping around the buildings and even maybe include the netball courts in this stage.
"We've been working on this for such a long time that you begin to doubt if it will actually come to fruition.
"Everyone is really excited that it is all beginning to move ahead."