Civic center reveals plans for major upgrades

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The Mineola Civic Center has announced plans for a major renovation of the 42-year old facility.

The upgrades were first announced at a holiday event on Dec. 5 and shared during the annual public meeting Dec. 11.

Carol Harder said the civic center board conducted a study beginning in July 2018 to determine why the facility was under-utilized.

The result was a determination that some changes were needed. While mostly cosmetic, the facility had lost some of its luster.

As a result the facility has not been competitive with newer structures with all the modern conveniences offered by technology and other upgraded equipment, such as the commercial kitchen.

The board has retained an architect who has done preliminary drawings of what the upgrades might look like.

The responses have been positive, Harder said.

The next steps include interviewing a grant writer and a capital funds consultant to come up with ways to pay for the project, estimated in the range of $3.5 to $5 million.

Among the improvements are outside patio areas off the front corners of the building, handicap accessibility at the front and an entrance area more accommodating to larger crowds upon their arrival.

“We want to create a better Meredith Hall to be the crown jewel of Mineola,” she said.

Updates to the stage are planned along with improvements to the smaller meeting areas and state of the art lighting and sound.

“Get excited with us and tell your friends,” she said.

New board President Pan Thurman said this will be a long-term project.

It will necessitate the center to be closed during the renovations.

During the committee reports, it was noted that the center roof was replaced during the year. In addition to repairing some leaks, it is also paying dividends with lower utility costs.

The center also no longer employees kitchen staff, and catering is being contracted to Brad Coburn who operates the Red Dome Smokehouse in Quitman and Uncle Bubba’s in Mineola.

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