THE once troubled Tivoli Drive-in is set for a $1 million transformation with owners the Rivers of Life Christian Church set to launch major plans today.
Two years ago the church put out a call to raise $100,000 for a new digital projector, or it would have to close.
The drive-in, one of two left in south-east Queensland, now attracts 75,000 movie-goers a year with profits going to charity.
Yesterday, Pastor Fred Muys outlined a plan to the QT to transform the old drive-in with a stage area to rival Brisbane's River Stage.
Plans involve construction of a community centre at the site and the 20m stage in front of the big screen.
The community centre would include office space and a small meeting room where the church charity activities would be based.
"Our vision goes beyond that," Pastor Muys said.
"We will look at how the Tivoli stage and the drive-in venue can be developed as a major events venue for festivals and major concerts and live performances, bringing a whole new era of outdoor entertainment to the city and providing Ipswich with a unique entertainment venue.
"Ipswich already attracts significant festivals, with CMC Rocks and Willowbank for example.
"The Tivoli Drive-in plans can only enhance Ipswich as a destination for national and international festivals and live performances."
The best part of the plan is it will train young unemployed people for the construction industry through Skilling Queensland for Work initiative.
The church has attracted a State Government grant of $538,000 to hire 36 unemployed people to be trained with qualifications in construction and practical experience in building the centre and the stage.
The project is to be completed by the end of October next year.
"The church bought the property in 2003 with a vision of developing it as a centre for the community to lift the community spiritually, socially and economically," Pastor Muys said.
"We have been very committed to using the centre both to create employment and provide work experience for unemployed people, to make it a learning centre for people who are disadvantaged and to provide entertainment for families."