DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Since 1977, the humble Old Train Depot visitors center on U.S. 281 served as the place guests and newcomers to the Marble Falls area could learn about local sites and activities or just sit and chat.
“This is a pretty unique building,” said Jean Eades, Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center coordinator, about the old building. “It is bittersweet moving to the new center.”
Eades and her crew of volunteers have packed up materials and are ready for the move to the new 4,400-square-foot Visitors Center located at Second Street and U.S. 281.
“… It’s a wonderful new building with lots of room,” Eades said.
The chamber and city of Marble Falls is holding a public grand opening and open house 2-5 p.m. March 24.
The new structure is probably the most significant piece of architecture added to the Marble Falls skyline.
“Can you imagine the impression the new Visitors Center, along with the new bridge when it’s completed, will have on somebody as they crest the hill coming from the south?” chamber Executive Director Bill Rives asked.
The budget for the new building was $1.4 million. The funds came from the Hotel Occupancy Tax that Marble Falls hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast inns pass on to guests. Those monies are used for promoting tourism in Marble Falls.
Marble Falls Mayor George Russell said the new structure will serve as a beacon for the community.
“The current facility just doesn’t meet the community’s needs. Most people get by it before they realize it’s there,” he said. “The new one definitely stands out. It forms the gateway to the community. It will provide a number of information sources for people, but it will also serve as a starting point for visitors to explore our businesses and attractions.
“It will be a true visitors center,” the mayor said.
The grand opening and ribbon cutting will give community members a chance to explore the new facility. There will be some light refreshments. Several local dignitaries will be on hand including U.S. Rep. Roger Williams.
Rives said the new Visitors Center symbolizes the great things happening in Marble Falls and the surrounding area.
“When people roll into town and see the Visitors Center, they’re going to say, ‘There’s something going on here,’ and, hopefully, it will entice them to slow down, pull over and stop,” he said. “I really do believe that of 10 people who stop, eight or nine are going to say this community is something they want to be a part of.”
For more information on the chamber, go to www.marblefalls.org.