The F.A.R.M Centre launched in time for winter sport start

FIRST STEPS ONTO THE NEW FREELING AGRICULTURAL MULTI-PURPOSE CENTRE. BACK: Gavin Schuster, Freeling Community Recreation Park Management Committee; Jason Schell, Ahrens; Simon Sherriff, Light Regional Council manager, strategic projects; and new centre manager, Ross Sharer. FRONT: Belgravia Leisure state manager, Catherine Foreman; Dee Heinjus, Freeling Community Recreation Park Management Committee and Freeling Tennis Club president; Lynette Reichstein, Light Regional Council elected member; Ian Carmichael, Freeling Community Recreation Park Management Committee chairman; Nicole Shaw, Freeling Netball Club president; and Kieren Chappell, Light Regional Council general manager, economic development.

The Freeling Agricultural, Recreation and Multi-purpose Centre (The F.A.R.M. Centre) will be open to the public tomorrow in time for the first day of the football and netball season.

Light Regional Council worked with the Freeling Community Recreation Park Management Committee, who were the big instigators of this huge Freeling based complex.

The $4.8 million project has taken 10 years to get off the ground and managed to receive 45 pet cent support from the Australian Goverment’s Building Better Region’s Fund.

Inside the facility includes the main trades and sports hall with two basketball courts and run off areas, training and meeting rooms for agricultural extension and community use, a 24/7 gym, two large changes rooms for male and female sport, public amenities, cafe, kitchen and canteen, parents room, and more.

Ian Carmichael, president of the Freeling Community Recreation Park Management Committee, has been a part of this project from the very beginning when the need for basketball courts was raised over 10 years ago.

“It’s something that for Freeling, as a growing town, is a major drawcard. We were lucky enough to have this area to build it on in the actual recreation park in the middle of the town,” said Ian.

“We have been at it for 10 years to build a basketball stadium. We had to alter the funding aspect of it but we got an agriculture centre now that we can play basketball inside of, instead.

“Basically, everyone in the community will be able to use it, which is fantastic. There has been a huge response to our fundraising… We have never been knocked back when we ask companies, they have been supportive.”

Simon Sherriff, Light Regional Council manager, strategic projects, said the ambition and passion of the Freeling community has been the biggest contributor to the creation of The F.A.R.M. Centre.

“It has been so enjoyable working with the community to bring this to fruition. They have played such an important part in delivering a product that hopefully does what they want it to do,” said Simon.

“So the community wanted to push ahead with not just any old recreation centre, but something that was a real hub for the agricultural community as well because Freeling is known as the animal fodder capital of the Southern Hemisphere.”

The footballers will be able to access the changerooms through external entry points, and the netball will hold one match on the new multi-purpose courts.

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