It came down to the wire but more than 200 volunteers have completed their mission - to transform the Medowie town centre in just seven days and on a minimal budget.
Volunteers and the Creative Communities team worked into the night on Friday to complete all projects planned in the Medowie 7-Day Makeover, which has included revamping Lions Park to create a more inviting public space and upgrading the appearance of the town centre.
"It has been an unforgettable week. More than 200 volunteers helped to transform the Medowie town centre into something we can all be proud of in seven days," long-time Medowie resident and Port Stephens councillor Chris Doohan said.
"Our budget was $65,000 - donated by sponsors and Council - and we've managed to make some amazing improvements. The park next to Medowie Community Centre has been completely transformed with a fairy garden, sensory trail and a new reading stage for the Mobile Library. Relaxed wave seating is scattered throughout the town, while artistic leaves and an 80 metre long mural show off Medowie's creative side."
Cr Doohan was one of the many volunteers who worked tirelessly throughout the whole week - May 8-14 - to carry out the makeover.
Also among the thick of the works last week was Jacki and Jarad Ashpole and their team from Ashpole Concrete and Constructions. The Medowie business donated more than $5000 in labour and machinery toward the makeover.
"We really like the idea of the 7-Day Makeover," Mrs Ashpole said. "We have small children but never really brought them to the park to play. Now that we have put time and effort into making improvements in the park, we feel like it's ours. There's a sense of ownership and pride in the space we're helping to create."
The Coates family also pitched in to help. Ryah Coates, 10, painted a number of little houses that now adorn the fairy garden.
"It's been really fun to be part of this," Ryah said. "I'm really happy with how the garden looks."
The young Medowie resident volunteered each afternoon during the makeover. She was joined in the fairy garden last Friday - the final day of works - by dad Glenn and younger brother Marcus, 5.
Mr Coates watched as his son threaded rope through poles to create a fence around the fairy garden - helping where needed.
"He's pretty hands-on," Mr Coates, from GRC Electrical and Excavations, said. "It's been great to be part of this. There's been a really good show of community spirit."
Emily Harkness, who was a driving force behind the 2019 Anna Bay 7-Day Makeover, was up a ladder with a paintbrush in her hand last Friday helping out.
"The more hands the better," she said. "Volunteering is awesome, especially on a local community project like this."
Earlier in the week, students and staff from Medowie Christian School also helped out.
The group of 13 spent the best part of their day last Tuesday sanding and preparing aluminum leaves for an instalment that now stand at the entrance of Medowie.
"I enjoyed the opportunity of being able to serve our local community, as I love being able to serve in all circumstances. The Medowie makeover was a great experience to share with the leadership team as it was a way of engaging and building new relationships, along with seeing the vision for our Medowie community," Year 12 student Emily Daniell said.
Creative Communities director and placemaker David Engwicht said the makeover has been a record-breaker.
"Medowie has set a new record for the most volunteers in a single day at 201. We also set a new record for the highest number of sponsors of any town that has done a 7-Day Makeover, plus many businesses took time off to donate their services. Medowie should be so proud," he said.
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