Welcome Center gets fresh faces

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Center welcomes Virginia Burgess and Tamara Carver

By Michele Roberts

Two new smiling faces will now greet visitors to the Lancaster County Welcome Center, located inside the restored historic courthouse at 100 N. Main Street.
The center was formerly run by Sylvia Hudson, who retired in mid-June.
“The full-time position was broken into two part-time positions,” said Debbie Hardin, clerk to Lancaster County Council and administrative assistant for the county.
“There were going to be some changes made to the hours the center was open, so it was decided it was better to have two people rather than one,” she said.
Lancaster resident Virginia Burgess started training with Hudson before Hudson’s departure. Burgess was already employed with Lancaster County as a floater, working in various positions as called for, which included stints at the voter registration office, Lancaster County Administration offices, and probate court, to name a few.
“Debbie [Hardin] knew I was available, and if would I be interested in the position,” Burgess said. “I definitely was. I liked the idea of welcoming and interacting with the visitors.”
Burgess said it was easy to step into the position after training with Hudson.
“She definitely knew her job,” Burgess said. “She was efficient, so it was easy to come in after her. Her passion was the same as mine: preserving the history of these buildings. I learned a lot from her, and I’m excited about some of the upcoming changes that are planned. This job is a perfect fit for me.”
“Virginia is a versatile employee,” Hardin said. “I knew it would be a good fit to have her in [the welcome center].”
The other part-time employee hired for the position is Tamara Carver from Jefferson. Hardin said Carver started working at the welcome center on July 2.
“We’re excited that we have them in place, because starting July 16, the hours at the courthouse are changing,” she said. “It will now be open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. [Burgess] will be there Monday through Wednesday, and [Carver] will be there Thursday through Saturday.”
Hardin said along with the change in the hours, the historic courthouse has started another new program; a program that so far has only been passed along by word of mouth.
“We have started renting out the top floor of the courthouse for social functions and special occasions,” she said. “Meetings, baby showers, bridal showers, anything like that. And of course the bottom floor is the museum, to which we hope to continue to add new pieces.”
The welcome center offers visitors materials on area businesses, historic sites and local non-profit organizations. There is also a small gift shop that offers Lancaster County-themed gifts.
“Most people may be surprised by how many visitors we get in here,” Burgess said. “A lot of people come through for genealogical purposes, and there are lots of out-of-town visitors. I think the new hours will be great for allowing more people to come through later in the day, especially on Saturdays.”
For more information on any of the services offered at the historic courthouse, call the Lancaster County Welcome Center at (803) 416-9455.