Improvements to Cessnock Pool and Rotary Park at Kurri Kurri are among the projects that will be funded under the latest round of the NSW Government's Resources for Regions program.
Cessnock City Council received $1,312,198 from the $50 million program, which supports mining-affected local government areas in regional NSW by using mining royalties to fund infrastructure projects and community programs.
Cessnock's allocation will be divided between four projects: the Cessnock Pool splash pad ($420,300); beautification of Rotary Park, Kurri Kurri ($482,198); a driver training program for disadvantaged youth ($100,000) and the establishment of the Cessnock City Cultural Hub ($309,700).
Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent is looking forward to these projects getting underway.
"This funding is critical to enable projects like the Cessnock Pool Splash Pad to continue into stage two and to support larger projects like the upgrade of the Kurri Kurri CBD and the redesign of the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre," he said.
The funding for the splash pad project will provide for the establishment of more shade, seating, safety features, landscaping and other improvements to complement the new splash.
Construction of this project will begin after the current pool season concludes at the end of March, with the aim to be finished in time for the 2021-22 season.
Work on the the beautification of Rotary Park is also set to begin in the first half of 2021. The upgrade is part of the implementation of stage three of the adopted Kurri Kurri Masterplan, and will include new park furniture, signage, lighting, and improved amenity through additional landscaping.
While the Cessnock City Cultural Hub is still in the concept phase, the grant will be used to fund the modifications to the first floor at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre to create a makers' and exhibition space, a secure art storeroom, and construction of a ramp and other modifications to ensure better access.
The Cessnock Disadvantaged Youth Driver Training Program will see council, the Hunter Region Employment Facilitator and Youth Express partner to deliver professional driver training and mentoring to help local young people for whom the lack of a driver's licence is a barrier to employment. Council plans to start this two-year program in the first half of 2021.
Council had originally included the Richmond Vale Rail Trail and the Cessnock Airport upgrade on its Resources for Regions wish list, but these projects were determined ineligible by the funding body program manager, while the splash pad project had to be amended.
The Resources for Regions funding model was overhauled this year, with each of the 24 eligible LGAs receiving $1 million, and a further $26 million divided between each LGA, scaled on the effect of mining in the area.
Cessnock first became eligible to apply for Resources for Regions funding in 2014. Previous local projects to receive funding under the program have included Bridges Hill Park, the Cessnock and Kurri Kurri CBD upgrades and the Hermitage Road cycleway.