Community center update: Chairwoman says foundation has more in store for 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation is pretty busy these days.

On Saturday, March 18, the foundation will be hosting Souper Soup at Best Western Inn of the Ozarks in the Sycamore Room. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring soup from various businesses and cooks in Eureka Springs. It will cost $10 to participate, and all proceeds will help fund fitness equipment for the gym at the community center.

Foundation chairwoman Diane Murphy said Souper Soup was once a regular event tacked on to the Victorian Classic.

“It was done for years in conjunction with Rotary and was benefiting the library,” Murphy said. “It’s been sort of let go for years, so we’re bringing it back and partnering with Rotary for the community center.”

That’s only the one of the events hosted by or benefiting the community center being held this year, Murphy said. Local Zumba teachers recently held a Zumbathon to raise funds for the community center.

“It’s exciting to be able to have some of that happening and have so much enthusiasm,” Murphy said. “It’s people from the community saying, ‘Let’s do this and further the cause.’ ”

The Dine Around fundraiser returned on March 15 at Forest Hill Restaurant and will be held on the third Wednesday of the month.

The proceeds from the first run of that event, Murphy said, raised $11,000 to fund a trial run of after-school programming. She said this trial run will take place from spring break to the end of the school year, spanning the last eight weeks of school. The community center is working with local teachers who have run after-school programs in the past on the project, Murphy said.

“They’ve got a wealth of experience about the kids and how to structure the program and make all that work,” Murphy said. “They’re the ones developing it and putting it on. We’re the ones funding it. Actually, the whole community funded it, because we’re using the money from Dine Around.”

The idea behind the trial run, she said, is to see if there’s interest in after-school programming. She said 83 students from the Eureka Springs School District, Clear Spring School and the Academy of Excellence have already signed up to participate.

“There’s clearly a need, and I’m really excited the community center can help meet that need. It’s been one of the goals all along … to provide those services,” she said. “The goal is to see if we can have a full after-school program next year. We have a lot of facilities work to do, but we’re working on plans to try to make that happen.”

A big change to the facilities is apparent when you drive by the old high school; Building 100 has been removed, Murphy said, and a bandshell is set to be built in its place.

“That’s a huge deal, whether you’re feeling sentimental about it being gone or amazed that it’s gone,” Murphy said. “It’s a really big deal. It’s entirely transformed the site, and I hope everyone sees it as a hopeful, promising thing … a place to make new memories and have new experiences there.”

The foundation doesn’t have funding for the bandshell yet, Murphy said, but more fundraising events and grant applications are in the works. Those who want to donate to the project, she said, can do so on the foundation’s website at http://www.eurekaspringscommunitycenter.org/.

Moving forward, Murphy said, the foundation is looking forward to moving the Eureka Springs Farmers Market to the community center for its spring season. She said members of the foundation are constantly thinking of ways to build the community center up and work with the community.

“We’re working hard on it every day, trying to make great stuff happen,” Murphy said.

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