Murphy discusses community center plans

Friday, December 18, 2015
Diane Murphy, chairwoman of the Eureka Springs Highlander Community Center Foundation, stands in front of an artist's rendering of the proposed center. (Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News)

Diane Murphy presented information on the proposed Eureka Springs Community Center on Tuesday night at the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce Banquet.

The center, Murphy said, will be built on the property of the old Eureka Springs High School. Murphy is chairwoman of the Eureka Springs Highlander Community Center Foundation; she said the foundation has been working with the Eureka Springs School Board to establish a lease agreement to be completed in 2016.

At the school board's meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent Bryan Pruitt said he will be signing the contract agreement between the school district and the foundation later this week. Once the contract is signed, Pruitt said the district's legal counsel will look it over to create a lease agreement.

Murphy thanked the school board for its help, saying this project has been in the works for a long time.

"They could've done something different a long time ago, but they've waited with us through this process," Murphy said.

She presented the layout of the proposed center, saying the foundation will keep the gym and refurbish it. Murphy described the various components of the proposal, including workout equipment, meeting rooms, a media room, an outdoor venue and an office park.

The office park, she noted, will be the source of the proposed center's revenue along with memberships and rentals.

"We just got the new website going and we've already had inquiries from people asking about space and getting on the list to reserve space, so that's exciting," Murphy said.

The outdoor venue, she continued, will allow space for the Farmers Market, car shows, craft shows, concerts and general gatherings.

"We hope it turns into something green and lovely and inviting," Murphy said. "We've envisioned it really having multiple layers of benefits."

Bill Featherstone, who works with the city's parks department, said he will be working with the foundation to establish a trail system on and around the proposed center. Featherstone explained that a trail will be created spanning the perimeter of the center, allowing residents to walk or run in a safe, well-lit environment.

"It will serve as a fitness trail where you can get a full-body workout," Featherstone said.

He said he is also working on a public trail beginning at the center and leading downtown.

Murphy asked that anyone interested in the project visit the foundation's website, She said the foundation will be holding meetings in the future to receive input from community members.

"We are looking forward to keeping you informed and getting you all involved," Murphy said.

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