AS the scaffolding comes down from the splendidly restored Soldiers Memorial Institute this week, another piece of the puzzle locks into place and Bendigo takes another significant step forward.

This has been a golden year already for our city, starting with the opening of one of the best regionally based hospital campuses in Australia, if not the world.

The $86 million joint federal and state government funded Ravenswood interchange project involving the upgrade of the existing Calder Highway/Calder Alternative Highway intersection at one of the most notorious locations for motorists is now open for business.

The superb $17.7 million Bendigo Tafe Health and Community Centre of Excellence has transformed the educational facility located at one of the city’s busiest intersections into an architectural wonder.

A new look Bendigo Stadium is getting its finishing touches this month, ahead of a planned opening and even better facilities for patrons of one of the city’s most under rated community assets.

The new stadium will also offer touring acts and entertainment providers a vastly different experience to anything they would have experienced in our city previously, and that augers well for all of us.

The $4.6 million Garden of the Future at the Bendigo Botanic gardens at White Hills is also almost finished, and is planned for completion later this month.

And the Soldiers Memorial Hall will look its absolute best later this month for the traditional Anzac Day services, thanks to the new look sandstone finish applied to one of the jewels in our city’s crown, all part of another multi-million dollar makeover that we should be both proud of and grateful for.

Work on the expanded museum at the rear of the hall continues, but for the first time, locals and visitors alike can see the beauty uncovered by undertaking this long overdue project at one of our most significant local history and heritage sites.

In the months ahead, the $31 million Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre, currently under construction at Kangaroo Flat, will open its doors most likely in June.

The new facility will provide an indoor aquatic, leisure and wellness facility to a standard not seen in our city before.

Meanwhile, La Trobe University continues its considerations for a potential campus in the Bendigo central business district as its contribution towards the revitalisation of the city centre.

Bendigo is not without its challenges, but there’s a lot to be thankful for across our city, and even much more to look forward to.