Exclusive – Strathmore Split Score $1.7 Million Facelift

Victorian State League 4 club Strathmore Split have struck gold, securing a seven figure government grant to revamp their facilities in the coming two years.

The grant, which will equate to approximately $1.7 million dollars, will be used to develop a new pavilion and improved fencing.

Club council liaison representative, former player and coaching staff member Ante Stipić says that the funding will provide the club with a stable future beyond its already rich 37-year old history.

“It has taken us a long time to develop a good relationship with the council and we have finally managed to secure some much needed funding to help our club continue its growth”.

That growth has included the introduction of three junior teams this year from under 10 to under 14 in the boys competition, and plans for further growth next year with an under 16 boys side and an open age girls team.

“We want to continue as a club for the next several decades, and adding juniors to the equation was the best option. In a perfect world, the juniors will eventually feed into our reserves and seniors, which will provide a great pathway and structure for club and player alike”, Stipić explained.

The grant will include the construction of a new pavilion, social room, upgraded kitchen, four self-sufficient changing rooms and higher fencing around the ground and behind the goals to prevent balls being lost in the creek.

“Back in 2008 when I first began representing the club at council meetings, I realised that we would need to be proactive in our quest for funding. It’s competitive and difficult for council’s to find the money for everyone, so we are delighted to have this money to improve our facilities”, Stipić said.

Mooney Valley councillor and former Mayor, John Šipek, also played a role in helping put together a proposal for the plans. The Australian Croatian politician ensured that all of Stipić’s numerous emails, reports, attendance at Council Chamber meetings and presentations would not fall on deaf ears.

“I consulted with John (Šipek) who provided some advice on what I needed to do to get through to some councillors and gain support. He was supportive and helped us, even though the council decision was not his to make. He was also responsible for allocating a small budget so that council could engage Architects to draft up plans when he was Mayor a few years ago ”, Stipić explained.

The works for the upgrade will most likely begin to take shape at the end of the year, and should be concluded within 12 to 18 months from their commencement. A disruption to fixtures may force some temporary financial costs to the club, but Stipić insists that in the long run, the club will be infinitely better for it.

“This grant will be a benefit to the entire Croatian community and especially in securing the future of Strathmore Split as club that remains a part of our community for many years to come”.

Josip Lončarić

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