Murray Bridge High School courts to get upgrade; Tintinara, Strathalbyn, Milang projects also win in Fund My Neighbourhood vote

Seen better days: Year 10 students Gracie Miles and Sarsha Bald and teacher Josh Coulter peek through a hole in the fence around Murray Bridge High School's hard courts, which will soon be upgraded. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Seen better days: Year 10 students Gracie Miles and Sarsha Bald and teacher Josh Coulter peek through a hole in the fence around Murray Bridge High School's hard courts, which will soon be upgraded. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

A hole in the fence is the easiest way onto Murray Bridge High School's deteriorating basketball and tennis courts.

Despite their condition, they are still used by students during the week and by immigrant workers who play basketball there on weekends.

Both groups will benefit from a $147,000 grant won through the Fund My Neighbourhood program, announced on Monday.

The money will pay for the resurfacing of three hard courts currently used for tennis, and the conversion of two basketball courts to an area of synthetic turf.

Physical education teacher Josh Coulter said putting the proposal together and securing the votes needed for it to get up had been a rewarding experience.

"The challenge was coming up with a creative way to market the idea and get as many votes as we could," he said.

The bid was advertised on the school's digital sign, in a flyer to parents and neighbours, and by word of mouth through staff and businesses.

It attracted 196 votes in the public poll which determined who would receive funding.

Mr Coulter hoped local sporting teams would be able to use the new courts for preseason training, or that the likes of Murray Bridge's hardcourt tennis association would get some use out of them.

"That was a big thing for me: to create a space that not only benefited students but the whole community," he said.

"Hopefully it will open our gates to a wider community of people and make Murray Bridge High School more appealing (to families).

"You don't really realise you're disadvantaged until you realise what it can be.

"We really want to give students an opportunity to have the best learning environment they can."

He anticipated work would start as soon as possible and, with luck, be completed during 2018.

Tintinara, Strathalbyn, Milang projects funded

Another big winner in the Fund My Neighbourhood announcement was the Tintinara community.

Three projects there won a total of $220,000 worth of funding: a nature play space, a mural on the old railway station building and the deepening of Lake Indawarra.

A senior citizens' centre and a theatre at Strathalbyn were granted $150,000 and $15,000, respectively, and the restoration of the Milang butter factory also got $150,000.

Participation in the voting process was low – each successful project attracted only 100 to 200 votes.

Where to from here

The successful Fund My Neighbourhood proponents will now enter into a grant agreement with the state government.

Premier Jay Weatherill commended everyone who had taken the initiative and put an idea forward, and everyone who supported those ideas by encouraging their neighbours to cast a vote.

"The projects awarded a share of the $20 million of funding reflect the commitment of South Australians who are focused on making a contribution to their communities," he said.

Thirty-three thousand South Australians cast more than 122,000 votes for 1600 projects across the state.

When all the votes were in, the state government decided to split the funding between 15 regions on a per-person basis, meaning no one region could ever have won all the money.

The Murray Valley Standard profiled a number of applicants across the Murraylands and Mallee during the voting period, including:

A second Fund My Neighbourhood round will be held in 2018.