The back of the Cromwell Memorial Hall faces one of the most beautiful views in the town, but no-one inside the hall can see it.
That’s one of the things that could change if ideas being gathered by the Cromwell Cultural Centre Trust come to fruition.
Trustee Jessie Sutherland said the trust had been on a fact-finding mission, visiting centres in Mosgiel, Dunedin, Tapanui and Balclutha, to gather information on what a successful cultural centre for Cromwell might look like.
Trustees had also spoken to people running community and cultural centres in Christchurch and Auckland to understand what some of the potential issues and pitfalls were.
One of the common responses was ‘‘do it as big as you can, because they always fill up’’, Mrs Sutherland said.
Another key insight was ‘‘make it as flexible as you can’’.
One example was the Tapanui Community Centre, which was ‘‘really innovative’’.
‘‘It was built 30 years ago, and it still ticks the boxes for the town.’’
The community had a large hall space, theatre and large supper room, ‘‘which all worked with a kitchen in the middle’’.
Having a large and supportive volunteer base was another key to success, she said.
The trust had engaged with the community through a series of meetings last year, discussing its ideas with a total of about 500 people.
Mrs Sutherland said this year the trust would continue gathering insights and ideas from a cross section of the local population as well as speaking to experts and developing business and project plans to understand how the centre might work.
The trust met the Cromwell Community Board late last year to discuss where the board was at with the Cromwell master plan.
‘‘We are still eager to help and progress this with them because we know that they have got a lot on their plate.
‘‘We see our role can be doing a lot of the groundwork to keep it moving, so that when we get to the council timelines we have progressed the project.’’
As well as consulting residents the trust had been speaking to local theatre and cultural groups.
‘‘We are asking the people that are going to use it: ‘what do you need for this to work?’’’
The trust was conducting a stocktake of spaces available in Cromwell for community events, what sort of events they were used for and the rental rates for both commercial and community activities.
‘‘We are looking at it from what is a financially viable outcome.’’
Cromwell Community Board chairwoman Anna Harrison said the Cromwell master plan clearly identified the need for a new building to replace the memorial hall.
‘‘This fits within the arts and culture precinct in the current hall location.’’
The board had yet to adopt this part of the plan as it was awaiting further reports from council staff.
‘‘We need to make sure we have done our due diligence on what is going to be a major capital project for our town.
‘‘Because of the scope of the project it will need to be included in the [Central Otago District Council] long-term plan,’’ Mrs Sutherland said.