Another decade or so passed by before the trustees realised that maintenance costs were exceeding the hall’s income. Major upgrades were required in the kitchen and toilet areas and the trustees considered selling some of the land where the tennis courts stood. However the trust deed simply didn’t allow the trustees to ‘sell, lease or mortgage”. Those early pioneers certainly had wonderful foresight.
Urgent help was needed, and in the early eighties, trustee, Dawn Dickson, approached Cr Harry Luxford, who had been a long time opposer of the hall, to attempt some type of reconciliation. After several meetings, Cr Luxford agreed to support the trustees and with that support, council made several small grants over the following years to enable maintenance and minor upgrades of the hall complex. But escalating costs were a continual concern for the then trustees, and it was decided that the time had come to seriously consider the future.
The tennis club had folded, the courts were again in disrepair and trustees discussed the possibility of selling off that part of the property. However it wasn't going to be easy because of the tight rules of the trust.
Discussions took place between the CEO of the City of Greater Dandenong, Carl Wulff, and the trust. At the time the council started moving in a wider direction and sought advice from architects.
Council put a proposal to the trust that council lease the property, they take over the running of the complex including demolishing the AJ O'Donoghue Hall to allow for the whole new complex.
However for this to happen, legal action had to be pursued through the Supreme Court, at great expense! The Supreme Court judge spoke glowingly of the hindsight of those pioneers and said that he would only consider minute changes being made to the trust to allow the council to lease the area, however the trust must remain as the representatives of the owners of 18-34 Buckley Street, Noble Park – i.e. the residents of Noble Park.The changes allowed the trust to lease the land and buildings to council, and to allow for a 6th trustee, being a person appointed by the City of Greater Dandenong. The 6th trustee does not have to live within the specified area as set out in the trust deed and will be appointed for a 12 month term. The other change made to the deed allows for a trustee who has served 2 or more 5 year terms and who no longer resides within the boundaries as specified in the deed, to remain a trustee if he or she so desires.
All hirers moved out of the complex at the end of 2004 and demolition of the A J O’Donoghue hall occurred over the holiday period and the building then became a construction site for the next 16 months.
The opening of the Paddy O’Donoghue Centre on May 13th 2006 was a memorable occasion and well attended. Official guests included the Hon. Tim Holding, Hon. Daniel Andrews, and the Mayor of the City of Greater Dandenong, Peter Brown, other councillors, and the hall trustees, as well as representatives of each of the hiring groups and some of the general public.
Mrs Olive O'Donoghue was invited to assist the Hon. Tim Holding in the official opening ceremony.