An $8 million oval upgrade is at the heart of a "bold" revitalisation push as one council is set to double its capital works expenditure to meet growing demand.
Southern Grampians Shire Council allocated $29.4 million of its $78 million total expenditure to infrastructure upgrades during a 2022-23 budget release on Wednesday night.
Mayor Bruach Colliton said a recent federal government grant of $3.9 million would go towards improving Hamilton's Melville Oval.
"The grandstands are being totally renovated, there'll be a new pavilion with multi-use and access for all and we're going to have a much more paved connection into the CBD," Cr Colliton told The Standard.
"The netball courts are down on the city side of Melville Oval, they'll be shifting to the other side of the oval and we'll be partially closing Market Place off to create a much more connected space between football and netball.
"People will be able to sit in the new tiered pavilion and be able to watch the football and the netball at the same time.
"The beautiful new pavilion will be accessible for all abilities, there'll be a new bar and function room, we've consulted Netball Victoria and all the cricket and football bodies."
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Cr Colliton said the entirety of the funds from the Federal Government's Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program had already been accounted for in a pre-budget council meeting.
"We allocated all of that to Melville Oval knowing we were going to put it in the budget anyway," he said.
"Last night was a confirmation of that budget, but there's $30 million of capital works in there which is almost twice what we'd normally do.
"It'll set the oval up as a really great regional facility for all the sports to come and enjoy and have a much more professional outlook for our sporting teams in Hamilton.
"The Kangaroos do a great job and I think it'll help instil a lot more pride in some of our sporting teams.
"As soon as the tender is awarded and we determine who's doing the job, we'll work out a contract and timeline with them. It will start fairly soon though and I couldn't see it taking more than a year to complete so once it's underway we'll know when we'll see it finished. It's $8 million altogether which is a big investment for Hamilton."
He said the "bold" budget reflected council's determination to give the shire a major face lift. "It's a fairly bold budget because it's a really significant time for us, we're really saying 'we're going to invest as local government'," Cr Colliton said.
"We're borrowing small amounts of money to ensure we can get all these big projects done.
"We've put in an allocation for the detailed design of the Hamilton CBD revitalisation plan. We've been hoping for funding for that, we'll commit to that and get the designs done and hopefully leverage funding and other investment to see a real renewal of the CBD.
"Works on Cox Street are underway, that's $5.5 million that we've already allocated in the previous budget and we're seeing the works under way now. We're hoping by the next financial year we'll finish the rest of the designs for Gray Street and CBD and we'll see Melville Oval finished.
"Council's purchased some buildings near the oval for future development as well. We've allocated more funding in the designs of all of that space and we want to connect that all to the CBD for much more activity and to bring people together."
"The budget is about seeing the detailed design so we can secure and leverage funding to do up our CBD. There's over $9 million in funding for roads and footpaths which is pretty significant for our budget."
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