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'CENTER' OF ATTENTION The Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce has endorsed a plan for a new convention center and festival park. How will the TR City Council respond?
by BEN TINSLEY
Jun 12, 2014 | 185 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Murrell Foster, Three Rivers city councilman and executive director of the TR Chamber of Commerce, said Monday the chamber has endorsed a proposal for a Three Rivers convention center and festival park.
Murrell Foster, Three Rivers city councilman and executive director of the TR Chamber of Commerce, said Monday the chamber has endorsed a proposal for a Three Rivers convention center and festival park.
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THREE RIVERS – A proposed convention center and festival park inside Three Rivers city limits might be an architect’s plan away—if the City Council is receptive to the idea.

Murrell Foster, both a city councilman and executive director of the chamber, said Monday this proposal is expected to be presented to the Three Rivers City Council at some point in the near future. The chamber formally endorsed the plan last week.

According to literature provided by Foster, idea enthusiasts predict the plan might lead to a rebirth of tourism in Three Rivers.

“This is the time to do this, and we have the wherewithal,” the proposal reads. “Let’s do it now.”

The plan specifies that the location of Three Rivers is key—as it is a very short drive from metropolitan areas such as San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Alice, Kingsville, Victoria, Beeville and other towns.

“All we need to do is have excellent facilities and friendly, smiling people, and Three Rivers could become the ‘Festival Capital of South Texas,’” the proposal predicts.

Foster specified Monday that costs, exact location and several other details will remain undetermined until an architect can be hired to provide ideas.

The proposal, meanwhile, predicts the monies can come from bonds issued by the city and guaranteed by the city’s hotel occupancy tax.

“There are many other meeting and sports facilities that have been built in the state in large and small cities that are financed this way,” the proposal reads.

The proposed convention center has been dubbed “The Gathering Place,” and could seat at least 200 people for dinner and be dividable into four rooms of about 50 each. The rooms could be set up to be used by more than one customer at once, the proposal shows.

Additionally, there could be a catering kitchen for meals, according to the proposal.

A “performance porch” on back of the building could have a covered stage and lighting. People would be encouraged to provide their own festival seating by bringing lawn chairs and blankets and sitting under the trees, the proposal shows.

Office space could be provided by the chamber or building management, and it could also include space for a small museum. Two large air conditioned rooms would be provided, the plan shows.

“The Market Place” might even consist of 40 covered 10x10 booths. These booths could be performance and built out of concrete slabs and metal pools and an empty roof, the plan shows.

Hose bibs would provide water for easy clean up.

According to the plan, each booth could have electrical outlets—all designed to provide a place for farmers markets, festivals, arts and crafts shows, charity fundraisers and other events at a reasonable price with no contest for renting booths or taking booths up and down.

The proposal states that several hundred thousand dollars have been collected in hotel occupancy taxes in the past few years and should be used to help the town’s hotels and motels become viable businesses.

“We don’t want big decaying empty buildings not paying taxes,” the proposal states.
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