#2 News Story: Community center goals become reality in 2017
The Eureka Springs Community Center
had an eventful year, kicking things
off with the demolition of Building
100. Chairwoman Diane Murphy said
the demolition was necessary to create
space for the Eureka Springs Farmers
Market and other community events.
Part of the contract required the foundation
to salvage glass blocks to use in the
project later on.
It was surreal, Murphy said, to see the
building come down after years of planning
the community center.
“All of this we have been working for
is really happening. Here we are with it
actually coming down,” Murphy said.
“It was pretty amazing.”
The first big event, Winterfest, was
held at the gym only three weeks later.
The event featured bluegrass bands,
a potluck, a soup contest, silent and
live auctions, a chance to win $20,000
and the farmers market itself. Joyce
the event with
her husband, said
she wanted to get
involved so the
could relocate to
is to add money to that. We realized
they needed much more than $10,000,”
she said. “You can’t get much of a car
for $10,000 anymore, and we knew that
wasn’t going to be enough. We’re not
telling them how to use it. We’re just
trying to add money to that fund. We’d
like to get them here sooner rather than
The community center continued its
Dine Around fundraiser, meant to help
open the gym and create programming
for Eureka Springs youth. The fundraiser
was a success, raising $11,052 during
its first round. The money was put to
use in March when the community center
launched a trial after-school program
for all public, private or home-school
children from kindergarten to sixth
grade. More than 90 students enrolled
in the program’s trial run.
The program was meant to be held at
the gym, Murphy said, but the discovery
of mold pushed that back a bit. Instead,
the community center funded the program
and Eureka Springs Elementary
School hosted it.
On April 20, the Eureka Springs
Farmers Market finally made its move
to the community center. Jon Toombs,
president of the farmers market, said
the market had been working with the
community center for years to complete
“The market has been going for 14
or 15 years now, but we’ve never really
had a home we could count on. We’ve
had some wonderful, wonderful people
who have hosted us over the years. We
don’t want to in any way dismiss that,
but they’re businesses and they have to
make business decisions,” Toombs said.
“This is our first opportunity to be part
of the community. The community center
wanted us to make our new home
here, and it felt like a great fit. Honestly,
this is a great thing.”
The Eureka Springs Community
Center Foundation received the SOAR
Award at the Groundbreaking Solutions
annual conference in Little Rock in
June, which recognizes the community
project of the year.
“It was a really nice recognition and
very encouraging,” Murphy said.
The community center received a
$25,000 grant from AT&T in July to
start developing a greenhouse program.
The greenhouse will have community
access, Murphy said, and an educational
The grants kept rolling in, with Windgate
Charitable Foundation awardingthe community center a $50,000 matching
grant in August. The reason for the
grant, Murphy explained, is to help the
community center foundation get some
buildings at the old high school ready
for community use, beginning with
completing mold remediation.
In November, the Eureka Springs City
Council voted to relocate city meetings
to the community meeting room at the
community center. Murphy said the
community center is working to get the
room ready for the meetings after the
first of the year. It’s incredible, Murphy
said, to think of all the community center
has accomplished in 2017.
“It was just in January that the big
building came down,” Murphy said.
“All the progress you see up there has
just happened in this calendar year. It’s
really been a remarkable amount to get
done. We want to give a big thank you
to everybody for believing in it and
helping us make it happen.”