A $75,000 donation to the Hamilton Gardens will see the much-loved attraction’s café upgraded next year, Hamilton City Council has announced.
The donors, Craig and Jenny Fraser, have owned and run the café overlooking the Gardens’ Turtle Lake for the past six years. The couple have previously donated $10,000 towards the Hamilton Gardens development programme and shared 50% of the costs of the outdoor cafe awning installed last summer.
Council says the Frasers’ donation will help improve the front entrance of the café, enhancing outdoor dining options for visitors, installing better storage facilities, and constructing a takeaway kiosk, so visitors can quickly buy a hot drink or ice cream without stepping into the building.
Hamilton Mayor, Paula Southgate said the donation was extraordinarily generous, especially given the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19.
“I’m just incredibly grateful to have people like Craig and Jenny in our city – we all should be,” she said.
“They run a fabulous café and have also been huge supporters of the Hamilton Gardens. The gardens are a treasured place for so many people and it’s people like Craig and Jenny, who go above and beyond, over and over, who help make this place and our city so special.”
“And this couldn’t come at a better time – there is a lot of exciting development in the works for the gardens. We have the Egyptian Garden opening early next year and work on the visitor centre is also planned. So, it’s all go and I’m looking forward to seeing the changes this donation will fund.”
The café upgrades, scheduled to begin mid-2022, will create a more efficient and streamlined visitor experience. Design plans for the cafe upgrades are underway and will align with plans for the new Visitor Arrival Centre.
Community Committee Chair, Mark Bunting said passionate people had helped the Gardens become renowned around the world.
“There aren’t many people who know and love the Hamilton Gardens like the Frasers. Like the Gardens, they are Hamilton through and through. We’re incredibly lucky to have the generosity and dedication of people like Craig and Jenny,” he said.
Donor and café owner, Craig Fraser said the donation followed a long family tradition of giving back to the city.
“We could think of no better place to contribute than Hamilton Gardens, a place that has become our second home,” he said.
“We have seen the pulling power of this stunning place, it attracts thousands of domestic and international tourists to Hamilton. The Gardens have become part of the fabric of our beautiful city.
“It also holds a special place in the hearts of many, including the hundreds and hundreds of members of the Friends of the Gardens.”