Community center moves forward with community meeting room

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Eureka Springs Community Center

Foundation has big things planned for

2018.

Chairwoman Diane Murphy said the

foundation is working to get the community

meeting room ready after the Eureka

Springs City Council voted Nov. 13 to

relocate city meetings to the space at the

community center.

“We have our attorney drafting a lease

agreement about that,” Murphy said.

“We’re going to move forward with the

work on it, because we want that room

available for the community to get to use.

We’re moving forward with that project.

We look forward to after the first of the

year having that available as another facility.”

The community center recently benefited

from the Greater Eureka Springs

Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet,

receiving some of the proceeds from

the live and silent auctions. That totaled

more than $9,000, Murphy said, which

was matched by a $50,000 grant from the

Windgate Charitable Foundation.

“We need to raise $20,000 more, and

we’d have a full $100,000,” Murphy said.

The community center is receiving portions

of the grant in increments, Murphy

said.

“We had applied for the first $15,000

once we made that match,” Murphy

said. “We’ve now applied for the second

$15,000, and once we raise the final

$20,000, we’ll ask for that.”

The grant money is important, Murphy

said, because that’s the only way the community

center can continue to progress.

She said the money will go toward mold

remediation, recalling how the discovery

of mold earlier this year prevented the

community center from opening up the

gym as quickly as planned.

“We just got held up and couldn’t move

forward until we figured all that out and

got it identified and raised the funds,”

Murphy said.

The community meeting room should

be done after other facility improvements,

Murphy said, including the mold remediation

and updates to the heat and air system.

“Then, we’ll go on with the project we

put on hold, which is renovating the lobby

and the lobby restrooms,” Murphy said.

The community center foundation has

to finish all the work by mid-February,

Murphy said, because the Chocolate Festival

will be held there Feb. 18.

“We’re going to have to be done,” Murphy

said. “That’s a huge event, and it’s a

great motivator. We’re thrilled we have

the funds available to do it, and we’ve got

people on board who can get it done. It’s

very exciting.”

In the spring, Murphy said, the foundation

hopes to bring on a part-time director.

That would mean being able to open up

some facilities, she said.

“We can have the director manage the

rental of the meeting room,” Murphy said.

“We can be available for special events or

activities. If we can have all that happening

with the part-time director, that will be

amazing.”

All the progress is possible, Murphy

said, because of the donations and grants

the foundation has received. She said the

foundation is working with a professional

grant writer to keep raising money for the

project. The Windgate Charitable Foundation

grant has been vital to the community

center’s success, Murphy said.

“We’re moving forward at the pace of

money always, so this will get us to that

point and it should also then put us in a

position to be able to receive some of the

grants we haven’t been able to receive

yet,” Murphy said. “As we have these

things accomplished, we have facilities

more under control and it should now

make us eligible for other things. I hope

it will just snowball progress from here.”

Murphy said she understands how discouraging

it can be for community members

to see little activity happening at the

community center.

“I promise there’s always stuff happening

in the background, working toward

making this happen,” Murphy said. “I’ll

look forward to us being able to do a community

open house in the spring, meet the

new director and all those sorts of things.

I think that will be amazing, and it’s in

reach.”

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