Exceeds expectations for use
According to Charles Thomas, head of the Carthage Economic Development Corporation, plans are being made to add additional meeting rooms to the existing Civic Center. “The original building is ideal for larger functions,” says Thomas, “but it is not feasible to rent for meetings on a smaller scale. We had always said we were going to build some rooms for our local citizens to use. These new rooms will allow us to provide meeting space for the civic organizations, oil companies, churches and such.” The additions will include an exclusive conference room that was paid for with private funds, plus a larger conference room that has the capability of being divided into two separate meeting rooms. Estimated cost of the new construction is expected to be around $600,000. “Mrs. Frances Ross generously gave us $150,000, and we appreciate it very much,” continues Thomas, “The conference room will be named in honor of her family.” Completion date is expected to be May, 2013.
The meeting rooms will join the existing building, but will not be hardened because of the expense involved. If the main area of the Civic Center is taken over for use during an evacuation, the new part of the building can be used as a base station for administrators of the Civil Defense team. A new entryway will be built on the south side of the existing shelter to match the front of the building. Thomas explains, “This addition is not being paid for with any ad valorem taxes. The project is being paid for strictly from Economic Development funds.”
Recent improvements have also been made to the main area of the Civic Center. The Carthage Book Club presented a lectern for the stage along with two benches that adorn the main entrance. The parking lot now has two sets of stairs with lighting and handrails to make for easier access ‘down the hill.’ An extensive lighting and sound system have been installed, and projectors are being added for presentations. The kitchen area has been updated with a commercial ice machine and refrigerator. City Manager Brenda Samford comments, “We received some additional grant monies from FEMA for these additions. The building is being used far beyond what we originally expected, so we’re adding some things to make it more user-friendly.”