The Cooke Park Pavilion was officially opened on Monday 8 November 2021 by The Hon. Michael McCormack MP, alongside Parkes Shire Mayor Cr Ken Keith, fellow councillors, staff and community members.
Cooke Park Pavilion forms part of the $8.5 million Main Street Revitalisation Project which also included the upgrade of Lower Clarinda Street which was completed late last year. The project was jointly funded by Parkes Shire Council and the Australian Government contributing $4.2 million.
This new facility includes and outdoor event stage, a multipurpose/conference room (80 seat capacity) and kitchen facilities, a separate meeting/ flexi-room, a large storeroom, and male, female, and accessible toilets.
Member for Riverina Michael McCormack MP said, "The visitor economy is a key driver for economic growth in Parkes. Hosting successful large- and small-scale events is something that the Parkes Community has been very successful at delivering, this new centre will enable them to leverage this success.
"This facility will attract visitors to a greater number of events and boost job opportunities for event personnel, accommodation workers, hospitality workers and local retail," said Mr McCormack.
Mayor of Parkes Shire Cr Ken Keith OAM said, "The project is part of the Parkes CBD Vibrancy Strategy, forming part of Council's planned improvements for the CBD."
In November 2015, Council conducted extensive community engagement through the public exhibition of the CBD Issues Paper, followed by Inquiry-by-Design Workshops in February 2016 and the public exhibition of the Parkes CBD Main Street Vibrancy Strategy in May 2016.
The Strategy identified short, medium, and long-term projects that would improve the vibrancy and prosperity of the Parkes Main Street. The projects included simple improvements such as a fresh coat of paint, to designing and installing dining platforms to encourage outdoor dining, as well as long term projects such the upgrade of lower Clarinda Street and the new Cooke Park Pavilion which are now complete.
"This new facility will enable Parkes to host new events that would not otherwise have come to the Parkes Shire, such as large regional theatre and concert events, business events and weddings," added the Mayor.
The addition of this brand-new facility, will drive growth in the local and regional economy, delivering social benefits through increased community pride, cohesion and well-being.
Following the opening of the Cooke Park Pavilion, this new facility is set to become the main stage for the town's events in the park, including the Parkes Elvis Festival and the recently announced Overture musical event, which are both scheduled for April 2022.
The project is proudly co-funded by the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund and Parkes Shire Council.