January 26, 2010 10:28:00 AM
When the current Tennessee Williams Welcome Center closes after Pilgrimage for restoration and stabilization, the center will have a new temporary home across the street.
At Monday''s meeting of the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, Executive Director/CEO James Tsismanakis advised board members of plans to sublease the building across the street, which served as home to the Elks Lodge and where J. Broussard''s restaurant once occupied space.
"We could sublease the building for around $2,250 a month, but I want to begin negotiations to begin taking over the building around April 1, even though we will not move out of the current building until after Pilgrimage," Tsismanakis said.
He said the CVB would like to use the building after April 1 as a reception place for bus tours and to set up a coffee shop.
"We will use this building for at least four to five months as the welcome center undergoes work," Tsismanakis said.
Board members unanimously approved giving Tsismanakis the authorization to proceed negotiations to sublease the building and prepare it time for Pilgrimage.
In December, Tsismanakis announced that the CVB received a $108,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The grant will be used to restore the Tennessee Williams home at 300 Main St., which not only houses the city''s welcome center, but was also the birthplace of the famed playwright who penned "The Glass Menagerie," "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
The work scheduled includes reroofing, floor work, restoring chimneys, replastering walls and dry-wall work.
Other board business
Board members heard from Main Street Executive Director Amber Murphree Brislin, who discussed plans for the upcoming Market Street Festival in May, as well as made a financial request.
Brislin said this marks the 15th year of the event, which has been selected as a top 20 tourism destination by the Southeast Tourism Society for the 11th consecutive year.
"This is our largest fundraiser, and we want to do what we can to make this better," she said.
CVB President and Board Chairman Dewitt Hicks said a decision on providing financial assistance will be finalized at the board''s February meeting.
Rick "Sonic" Johnson and Glen Walker of Columbus Air Force Base gave a presentation about the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Air Show scheduled in May.
"The Thunderbirds are planning to have a program for the local schools on Friday, and the base will be open Saturday and Sunday for the show from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.," he said.
Johnson and Walker also made a pitch for financial assistance for a civilian air show to be held in conjunction with the Thunderbirds show.
The CVB board also will take up the financial request in February.
Allen Baswell is a former staff reporter for The Dispatch
Floyd H. McIntyre commented at 1/26/2010 12:45:00 PM:
The building to be leased by the CVB was the Elks Lodge, not the Moose. My father, Tommie McIntyre, was a longtime member of the Elks.