Town Hall account settled

The Rodney Local Board has picked up the tab for the remaining $250,000 outstanding on the cost of refurbishing the Warkworth Town Hall.

The $5.6 million restoration project was covered by Auckland Council, the Local Board, a Lotteries Commission grant, the Warkworth Town Hall Restoration Trust (WTHRT), the WTHRT fundraising committee and Watercare.

The restoration trust signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to raise $675,000 towards the Board’s share of $1.2 million, which was underwritten by the Board. However, the trust managed to raise only $425,000 or 63 per cent of what was owed.

At its meeting this month, the Board agreed to waive the remaining $250,000 releasing the trust from its obligation and ending the MOU.

Board chair Beth Houlbrooke thanked the trust for its hard work and dedication.

“Members of the trust and the fundraising committee worked relentlessly over several years to restore the old town hall and their hard work and efforts have certainly paid off,” she said.

Newly-elected trust chairperson Peter Henderson says the trustees are very grateful to the Board for its support and understanding, and for waiving the outstanding debt.

“The trust and fundraising team worked tirelessly during the restoration period to attempt to raise the required underwritten funds but there were numerous challenges, including competition for funds from other worthy projects,” Mr Henderson says.

“The trust is excited to be entering a new phase with the addition of several new members. We are about to purchase flexi-staging for the hall with the assistance of a grant from the Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate and a contribution from the Warkworth Theatre Group.

“We can now concentrate our efforts on purchasing other necessary assets for the town hall.”

The 106-year-old hall re-opened to the public last year after a two-and-half-year upgrade.