Chamber moving downtown
County buys building to house Extension service offices
By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor
June 13, 2008 - The Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce will be moving its headquarters to the downtown area by the end of the year after signing contracts to sell the Chamber's existing office building to the Hopkins County government and purchasing a Connally Street property.
The move, described as a perfect fit for all involved, will also see the Hopkins County offices of Texas Agri-Life Extension Service moving to the Chamber's current home adjacent to the Hopkins County Civic Center.
In a signing ceremony at 3 p.m. Thursday at the county courthouse, Extension service workers past and present were joined by Chamber officials and Hopkins County elected officials to finalize the terms of the deal. The county paid $169,300 for the building and property, which includes the parking lot and about 3,000 square feet of office space.
About an hour later, new Chamber Director Meredith Caddell and Chamber Board of Directors Chairman Deborah Wright signed another contract to purchase an office building at 300 Connally St. The building, most recently the home of a sleep clinic, sits caddy-corner on the southwest side of the intersection of Connally and North Davis streets, across from the old city library building.
Caddell, who took over the task of overseeing the daily operations of the Chamber about a month ago following the retirement of Billy Sam Elliott as Chamber president, was visibly ebullient about the prospect of moving to the downtown area. The move will put her closer to the renovated business district and the ever-busy Downtown Business Alliance, as well as the logical first destination for visitors to the city.
"When people come to Sulphur Springs for the first time, downtown is naturally the first place they come to," Caddell noted.
Extension service agents were also noticeably happy about the move from their current quarters on Hinnant Street next to the adult probation office. For one, the new location will offer them more space and more parking area. More important, however, is the location that will offer increased visibility for a service that many feel is one of the most practical service agencies in town. The Extension service is a veritable warehouse of information for everything from how to raise better tomato plants to learning to live with diabetes. It also serves as the central hub for the county's 4-H program.
The move will be finalized sometime before the end of the year. Essentially, the Chamber of Commerce will take possession of its new home no later than February, although circumstances could dictate that they can move in sooner, depending on the ability of the property's current client finding a new lease.
Caddell and Wright, however, both said they will not make the move if the time comes anywhere near the Hopkins County Fall Festival, held every year in mid September.