105-year-old Otautau Town Hall to be demolished so Community Hub can be built

105-year-old Otautau Town Hall to be demolished so Community Hub can be built

The new owners of the century-old Otautau Town Hall will demolish it and construct a multi-use building on the site which the community can utilise.

The town hall, built in 1911 and located on Otautau’s main street, has been purchased off the district council by the Otautau New Life Centre, with senior pastor Anita de Wolde saying they had big plans.

de Wolde, who owns a dairy farm with husband Abe at Heddon Bush, said the New Life Centre’s church in Otautau had been growing in recent years and they needed more space

Initial plans to build an extension on their existing building, which adjoins the town hall site, were shelved when they decided to buy the town hall.

In coming months they would demolish the town hall building, which is earthquake prone, and next year would construct a building on the site which would be used for church and include a 250-seat auditorium with a stage and sound system, three multi-function rooms and office space.

The building would cost up to $900,000 and the centre presently had about $300,000, with funding applications to follow.

If further funding was unsuccessful they would down scale their plans.

The sports complex at Otautau is presently used for community events in the town, but de Wolde believed a new building on the town hall site would add to the town.

She hoped the community hub would draw people to the town for the likes of business meetings, educational night classes and more, while it would also be the base for church on Sundays and a day-care centre was in the pipeline.

“We dream big … we can’t just look two years ahead, we have to look 20 years ahead,” de Wolde said.

She believed small communities needed to be looked after, saying the people of Otautau had generally been positive about the plans.

“The [Otautau] community has been positive, a little bit mixed and that’s understandable when you do something new. We have got to prove ourselves, but overall quite positive.”

The New Life Centre’s present building in Otautau would remain but its use was likely to change, she said.

 – The Southland Times

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