Showground Barn gets the Notaras touch for floors
AILING Grafton businessman Spiro Notaras has again signalled his commitment to his community, with a $5000 donation of timber for a project at the Grafton Showground.
Mr Notaras, who is rehabilitating after a stroke earlier this year, was at the Barn earlier this week as workmen began laying the timber floorboards his company donated.
Clarence Pastoral and Agricultural Society president Rex Green said the donation helped ensure the project would come in on budget.
"The $5000 from Spiro was vital for us, along with a grant from the State Government and the Work for the Dole kids as well," he said. He also praised Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis for securing the Community Building Partnerships Grant of almost $50,000.
"The Barn is a great asset for the local community," Mr Green said. "But it has been a liability on the books of Clarence Pastoral and Agricultural Society.
"When the final stage of this project is done, it will start to generate positive figures our ledger as well."
Mr Gulaptis said the Barn and the Grafton Showground were iconic parts of the city.
"Not too many places have their showground right in the main street," he said.
"That makes them a tremendous asset for the city and worthy of this level of expense."
Mr Green said Lawrence builders Graham Wilson and Bob Johnson had worked wonders with the Work for the Dole people.
"It's got to the stage with the Work for the Dole kids, they're actually staying back and working builders' hours because of the pride they're taking in their work," Mr Green said.
"We would never have been able to afford the cost of their labour, so they and the Federal Government has made a huge contribution."
The project has involved some heavy work with between 300mm and 450mm of soil excavated with mattock and shovel from underneath the building.
"Floods over the years had built the soil levels right up to the level of the joists and bearers," he said. "We've actually uncovered some white ant damage, which if it had been left, would have become serious." Mr Green said the floorboards will be down by the end of the week, sanded and finished with tung oil, to keep with the heritage look.
The staged refurbishment of the hall, which began with the revamp of the kitchen area, will continue with the upgrade of the toilets on the Prince St side of the building.