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Kennedy Community Centre update

Kennedy honoured at season launch John Kennedy Jnr was honoured along with Emma Race as the number one ticket holders for the Club. He spoke to Hawks Media about what the role means to him.

Hawthorn has submitted a new permit and planning scheme amendment application for the proposed Kennedy Community Centre to the City of Kingston this week. The permit features extensive additional community facilities, including a new indoor hi-ball stadium and three community training ovals. 

The club aims to build one of the biggest and best elite training and administration facilities at its new Dingley home by the end of 2022, with a key feature being its equal changeroom facilities purpose built for both male and females.

The plans that have been submitted would see the construction of a $130 million headquarters and community facilities across 28 hectares.

The Hawks, through a robust funding strategy, will contribute about $80 million and seek in excess of $50 million through partnership with all levels of government and the AFL to complete the Kennedy Community Centre.

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It includes an MCG-sized training oval and elite aquatic and gym facilities for the Hawks men’s and women’s teams.

The club has dramatically increased the scope of the original design to now also include a local indoor sports stadium including six basketball, netball, volleyball and wheelchair AFL courts.

There will also be three community sporting fields, including a main oval with a 500-seat pavilion and four male and female community change rooms.

The main community training oval could be used for VFL and AFLW matches, as well as representative junior or community football. 

It will also include a community education and learning centre which can be utilised by the club’s community partners and other local groups.

The plans also include an interactive Hawthorn museum, a running track and more than 1000 car parks.

Hawthorn CEO Justin Reeves said the club discovered there was a shortage of local sporting ovals and courts within the Dingley area and wanted to address the problem.

“One thing that became really clear to us was that our original vision, which was fantastic, was to essentially build a footy club behind gates,” Reeves said while speaking to Jay Clark from the Herald Sun.

“But that doesn’t really work on its own in our business.

“We have 80,000 members, which are basically the owners of the club, and they need to be welcome.

“They need to be involved and have a place to go. They need a home. We need to benefit the community.

“When you look at the pictures of the site, one third of it is what we will use, but two thirds of it are exclusively for the community.”

The Hawks believe the elite facility will help secure their home in Melbourne’s southeast for the next 100 years, with Reeves confident the facility will be world-class.  

“We have travelled around and spent a lot of time with Tottenham Hotspurs and other elite clubs, and we think this will be one of the best facilities in the world,” Reeves said.

“Certainly, there aren’t many places like it that will combine a world-class sporting club with facilities exclusive to the public in the one area.”

Already one of the most successful clubs over the past four decades, Hawthorn’s new home will help the club remain at the front of the competition. 

Reeves said the club had ambitious plans to provide its players with the best facility possible, about 20km from the city.

“We think we have good facilities (at Waverley), but we think this will put us ahead of the pack in Australian sport,” Reeves said.

“The feedback from the players is that they are incredibly excited.

“The biggest question I get, of course, is when (will it be completed), because they are on the clock.

“That is one of the reasons why we have brought this to a head because we need to get on this site, from an athlete’s perspective, as soon as possible.

“So we will be in there by (the end of) 2022.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs