A group in Melbourne’s inner west is running a crowd funding campaign to buy the Dancing Dog Café site, a popular arts and community hub in Footscray. The hope is to raise $1.5 million and make the purchase as a collective, thereby preventing the building from falling into the hands of developers.
The building, situated at 42 Albert St, is currently on the market for $1.3 million and is due to be auctioned on April 18. Developers are interested in the site, which is in an Activity Centre Zone, for its corner location.
The crowd funding campaign, being run through Pozible, was initiated when Katerina Gaita, a resident, posted, “Why don’t we buy the Dancing Dog as a community?” on a Facebook group page dedicated to Melbourne’s inner west.
“This stirred such a reaction from so many members and, from there, the campaign evolved – quickly, too,” said Mary Napier, co-coordinator of the Dancing Dog campaign. “The building has a history of significant social importance, its origin being the United Friendly Societies Dispensary, which served the Footscray community for so many years. For well over a decade now, it has been serving the community by providing space for individuals and community groups to meet, take part in recreational activities, exhibit art, perform music, present poetry or simply grab a coffee. This has created a special sense of community ownership over the space.”
If successful, the community will own the building as an incorporated association. To qualify as a member, individuals must pledge a minimum of $200 to the Pozible campaign before April 18 or donate an agreed amount of time.