An iconic new building is being planned for the banks of the Little Murray in Swan Hill.
The two-storey building on Monash Drive could house the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery, Visitor Information Centre, Pioneer Settlement entry, and a new interpretive centre.
It will be built if Council’s Our Region Our Rivers funding application is successful.
At their meeting yesterday afternoon, Swan Hill Rural City Councillors chose the Monash Drive site – on the Pioneer Settlement grounds between the PS Gem and the coach house – as their preferred location for the new centre.
Council officers will now work with architects to finesse concept plans, which will be included in the final stage of a funding application to the Federal Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
Mayor Ann Young said if ultimately successful, the building would offer new and modern public spaces for locals, a central destination in Swan Hill for visitors, and would create savings and efficiencies for Council thanks to combined services.
“This is a really exciting prospect for Swan Hill and for our whole region. If we can achieve the funding and build this facility, we will create an iconic, modern building that is a drawcard in itself,” she said.
She said plans for the building were initially sparked by the need for a larger, more modern art gallery, and from findings in the 2017 Murray River Interpretive Centre Feasibility Study.
“The second storey of the new building will be dedicated to the art gallery, providing more space for touring exhibitions, more space to display and store the permanent collection, and even views over the river,” Cr Young said.
The current plans show the ground floor including visitor services, entry to the Pioneer Settlement, the interpretive centre, an education space and a merchandise area
Outside, there will large open spaces for events, smaller public meeting spaces and even a roof-top space for functions.
“There are so many opportunities with this proposed building – for our community, visitors and economically. I can’t wait to see how our funding application and next round of designing progresses,” Cr Young said.
Cr Young said during initial planning phases, Council had sought input from the Art Gallery Advisory Committee, the Wandarrah Action Committee and Friends of the Pioneer Settlement. Work with those groups and the wider community will continue if funding is successful.
Swan Hill Rural City Council is working with six neighbouring councils on a joint funding application to the Federal Government’s Regional Growth Fund. The group has been invited to complete the second stage of application, and must complete this by the end of January.
If successful, the $16.8 million funding will be matched by the councils to complete more than $32 million worth of projects in each municipality. In the Swan Hill municipality projects include this multi-purpose building and in Robinvale, the Bromley Road development and walking/interpretive trails.
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