Welcome Center opening soon with Chamber staff

The long awaited opening of the Thomas Jefferson Gardens Education and Welcome Center is nearly here.

The Greene County Chamber will move from its current location in City Hall to the Education and Welcome Center, and be ready for business by the time of the Bell Tower Festival.

Ora Stevens (right), Greene County Chamber president, and Tom Polking, Thomas Jefferson Gardens board president, at the Thomas Jefferson Gardens Education and Welcome Center.

The Thomas Jefferson Garden and the Greene County Chamber boards have agreed to this move and recognize it as being beneficial for all; providing a person to welcome visitors while maintaining the Chamber office hours. An office area in the northeast portion of the building will house the Chamber coordinator Sheilah Pound. Both boards will hold their meetings within the building.

Pound will welcome visitors to Greene County during the week days, and staff hired by TJG will be present during the weekends. The Gardens and Education and Welcome Center will maintain the same hours as the Bell Tower for visitors to enjoy throughout the summer. The Chamber offices will remain in the building during the winter months.

The former insurance building, purchased in 2014, has been gutted to the exterior walls. Four public restrooms are now available, with a restroom that is handicapped accessible and will also serve as a family restroom.

A new heating and air-conditioning system has recently been installed as well. Additional lighting along with new ceiling fans, and new light gray interior wall and ceiling paint makes the rooms very bright. Grey and black carpeting will be installed very soon. A small kitchen area with a sink and refrigerator is also available.

Early visitors admire the spaciousness, as the false ceiling has been removed, and additional lighting provides a feeling of openness. For a fee, the building will be available for family celebratory functions, and for educational and small business meetings. The building committee planned for portable tables and chairs to accommodate a variety of needs.

A grand opening of the building is scheduled during the first evening of the Bell Tower Festival on Friday June 9, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.  

 The Education and Welcome Center will become the first stop for visitors and tourists coming to Greene County. Scheduled tour buses will have a reserved parking place on the west side of the Thomas Jefferson Gardens. Scheduled visitors will be greeted with coffee and the famous Bunker’s Dunkers donuts.

Three television screens will provide historical information about Greene County and the Gardens, a calendar of events for Greene County activities, and other up-to-date tourist information. The screens may be individualized for weddings and other family gatherings, showing videos of the renter’s choice.

The Chamber will begin moving by mid-May, or sooner if the building remodeling is completed.

Ora Stevens, Greene County Chamber president, and Tom Polking, Thomas Jefferson Gardens board president, are pictured holding the lease arrangement agreed to between the two entities.

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