Davis to chair Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation board
The Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation Board has a new chairwoman.
After the resignation of longtime chairwoman Diane Murphy, community foundation board member Debbie Davis is stepping into the role. Davis’ career in education spanned decades as she served as an elementary school principal and director of the University of Arkansas’ Arkansas Leadership Academy. She is currently serving as the facilitator for the Arkansas School Board Association, in which she trains school leaders and school boards in strategic planning, vision and mission.
Davis said she has been on the community center foundation board for three years, saying she’s always been supportive of the community center concept. When she was an elementary school principal, Davis said, the school created a program called Community Education.
“It was classes for all ages to utilize school buildings after hours to bring people in that weren’t part of the school community and let them see there were valuable resources there for them,” Davis said. “It was consistently our highest ranked program that the schools offered, so when I heard about the community center project, I was really excited about it.”
Davis said she hated to see the old high school sit empty.
“It needed to have something done with it,” Davis said. “It’s such a centerpiece of our community that the community center is really just a natural fit for it.”
What makes the community center so valuable, Davis said, is the reasonable membership cost and all the activities offered there. Davis said the fitness center is especially popular, saying members have continued to use the exercise equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even with all the safety protocols we have, people are up there using the fitness center equipment all the time,” Davis said. “We’ve got it all spread out, so there’s lots of space for distancing. People wear masks. Everything is sanitized regularly.”
Additionally, Davis said, the community center offers all kinds of classes at a fair cost. Davis said the community center has offered exercise classes, art classes and even cultural classes in the past.
“Plus, we provide spaces for community groups to meet,” Davis said. “I think once COVID is over, people are going to be really hungry for that social interaction. I think we’ll see a lot of people wanting to get back together in groups.”
Davis thanked everybody on the community center board, as well as the community center employees, for their hard work.
“The original members of the board worked tirelessly to make sure we’re where we are today,” Davis said.
Davis said she’s excited about what’s to come at the community center, including a pavilion over the farmer’s market. The community center board has lots of plans and ideas, Davis said.
“We are working with some local designers to get some concepts for the pavilion,” Davis said. “That will go at the front of the property where the gravel pad is. There’s lots of exciting plans for the future — it just takes funds to do it.”
Davis said the board will continue to seek donations and grants to expand the community center’s offerings.
“There’s all kinds of fun things that would really create a wonderful atmosphere for our community members,” Davis said. “It’s such a central location, there’s lots of parking and it’s just an ideal location for a community center.”
Davis continued, “It’s fulfilling a need in our community and I think it will continue to grow and just be a valuable asset to the residents of Eureka Springs. So often we do things just for tourists, and I like to see things done to make this a better place for locals as well.”