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Welcome center has new temporary home

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Mary Brown – For The Lancaster News

The county’s welcome center has a new home – at least a temporary new home.
It moved from the historic Springs House at Catawba and Gay streets to 128 S. Main St., a retail front location in downtown Lancaster.
“This was a much-needed move,” said Sylvia Hudson, the welcome center specialist. “While I enjoyed the Springs House, this location and the additional space we have here are such blessings.”
The center moved on Nov. 22 and opened at its new location on Nov. 30.
Hudson said the move is already paying off.
“Folks are beginning to come in – mostly local but a few out-of-towners, too.” she said.
The center will be moving again next year to the historic courthouse, which has been under renovation since the August 2008 fire that damaged the building. The old courthouse will also house a historic museum.
Hudson said the welcome center is not just a place for visitors to get information about the county, but it’s a place for county residents as well.
For a number of years, the center has provided information packages for various groups, such as weddings or families with out-of-town guests.
The center has materials about the county’s nonprofit organizations, businesses and sites, including historic information.
The center also supports a nonprofit gift shop, which has a selection of books, many written by county residents or former residents. Products sporting the Lancaster County or Lancaster city logo, such as T-shirts, caps and mugs, are also available. See Lancaster’s Christmas ornaments are also available at the center.
Something new to the gift shop is a selection of sculptures by Lancaster artist Bob Doster. The Avant-Garde Center for the Arts, headquartered in Great Falls and run by Doster’s wife, Cherry, has also partnered with the center to sell its artwork.
She said placing the artwork in the center is a great honor. Profits from artwork sales will go to Avant-Garde.

“I’m excited to see the welcome center in such a visible location” Cherry Doster said. “It’s a great place to make the public aware we have these services.”
The move to Main Street was the result of renovations necessary at the Springs House.
County Administrator Steve Willis said the welcome center should be able to move into the old courthouse around April, when construction there is expected to be completed.
“We are thankful for the short-term arrangements made on Main Street,” Willis said. “We hope folks will stop by and see what we have.”
Originally the welcome center was part of the nonprofit See Lancaster organization, where Hudson worked and developed the center and gift shop.
In June 2009, it was reorganized and the county took responsibility for the welcome center. Hudson was hired by the county following that transition.
“We definitely want to provide positive and memorable services to visitors and tourists,” Hudson said. “But it’s also important for people throughout Lancaster County to recognize that this is their welcome center to visit and enjoy.”
The welcome center is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can call the welcome center at (803) 416-9455.