It has taken 10 years and an innovative community partnership scheme, but a heavily used dirt path at Strathfieldsaye has finally been asphalted.
The 1.8-kilometre footpath runs from the St Anthony's medical clinic along the Emu Creek to where it meets Sheepwash Creek.
It then runs along Sheepwash Creek to the St Francis of the Fields Primary School entrance on Somerville Rd.
It is hoped the works will make the path more user friendly for school students and staff as well as the general public.
Strathfieldsaye and Districts Community Enterprise (SDCE) chairman Dennis Johanson said the footpath had been used for 30 years but was a only dirt path
"It goes around St Francis school so it is used by the school and other pedestrians," he said.
"The path itself is almost two kilometres long and there's been a push the past 10 years to get it asphalted."
One plan was to carry out the works as part of the project to build an underpass under the bridge on Eppalock Rd. However, that project has been held up and so it was decided to press on with sealing the existing path as a first stage.
An approach to Greater City of Bendigo saw the project costed at more than $500,000.
"A few of us got together and thought we could do it for more like $300,000," Mr Johanson said.
"So we convinced council to give us a grant of $250,000 which is pretty much unheard of - to get a grant from council to do up a footpath."
SDCE then put in $50,000 of its own money, property developers Villawood and the St Francis school donated $10,000 each and St Anthony's medical centre contributed $5000.
"We also received a grant from TSA (Tyre Stewardship Aust) for $10,000 for using asphalt which contained recycled tyres," Mr Johanson said.
Mr Johanson was relieved the path had finally been asphalted.
"After 10 years of the all the planning and bureaucracy, it only took three weeks to construct," he said.
"I couldn't believe how quick it was."
Mr Johanson said one of the main benefits of the asphalted path was that hopefully more students would use it to ride and walk to school to help ease the traffic congestion at school drop-off times.
SDCE has been operating for about 15 years, originally set up to obtain a football oval in the community.
The group is funded through the Bendigo Bank.
"If customers tag their accounts to SDCE, we get a small commission from the bank," Mr Johanson said.
"We've had $75 million worth of accounts tagged which has seen us raise $1.5 million that goes back into the community - and it doesn't cost the customer anything to do it."
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