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Olive Hill Chamber plans for welcome center

Getting the Olive Hill Depot Trailhead ready to be a welcome center was the main topic of discussion when members met on Thursday evening.

No speaker was selected as this was planned to be a working meeting to begin creating a plan that will transform the historic Olive Hill railroad depot into a tourist welcome center.

Before delving into the welcome center topic, Chamber President Lisa Conley gave brief updates on other chamber projects.

She said ‘It’s Fall Y’all” planning is in full steam and is currently sponsorships, only lacking funds for two events. The chamber’s registration to reestablish its 501(c)6 status has been sent to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and a sign that will be displayed near the depot welcome center is finished and awaiting installation once repairs to security equipment on the depot are completed.

“We are no shape to open [the depot], and we’re in no shape to have a worker in here,” Conley said in reference to developing a welcome center.

Conley would like to set up different themes for the various rooms inside the depot with the main room featuring notable persons from Olive Hill’s past, like Tom T. Hall; the middle room would feature railroad-related history and artifacts; and the last room would have information on Olive Hill Trail Town and other tourist attractions in the area.

Currently, there is no projected date or timeframe in which the chamber would like to have the center open. Details on memorabilia, tourist information, and staffing are all questions that will need to be decided for before a timeline can be established.

Fundraising was another topic of discussion. The chamber’s fall festival event is really the only event that generates an income for the chamber besides membership dues. Selling Olive Hill-theme t-shirts was one idea and will be considered.

Some members brought up having a bingo night as they are regionally popular events that can generate funds for non-profits with a gaming license. The number of available volunteers and start-up costs associated with bingo worried some.

The most popular idea seemed to be to have the games hosted at the Olive Hill Center for Arts and Education and allow schools and other non-profit organizations to run their own games.

“There are a lot of high school parents that are tired of fundraising,” Von Perry said. “A lot of them would rather work this one night to do their fundraising.”

At the schools alone, Perry came up with over 15 organizations that could benefit from such an event.

It was decided that more information on regulations and costs was needed before a decision could be made on whether to attempt such a feat.

Raffles and 50/50 drawings were also considered with no solid plans on either established.

In other business, Conley informed members that a social media workshop would be held at the depot on Friday, Sept. 13 at noon. The event is free to chamber members.

The Olive Hill Historical Society, represented by Debbie Harman, was chosen as the chamber’s member of the month for the dedication to improving Olive Hill and drawing outside interest.

Chelsa Hamilton was chosen as the chamber’s volunteer of the month for her activism in The Galaxy Project and in the Chamber.

The chamber will further consider fundraising issues at their next meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Depot in Olive Hill.

Cory Claxon can be reached at cclaxon@cartercounty.news or by phone at (606) 225-5912.

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