THAYER -- A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Thayer Tourist Information Center was held Sept. 9 at the center, adjacent to McDonald's in the train caboose.
Thayer Chamber of Commerce President Jim Hart said the chamber received a 90/10 matching grant for $57,000 from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
City workers will be doing most of the work; the concrete work on the project was contracted to Carl Barton.
Hart said the information center will be manned Monday through Friday and hold regular business hours. He said upon completion two signs will be placed facing Highway 63 to let travelers know the information center is there.
"We will not only be promoting the Thayer, Oregon County, Mammoth Spring area, but the entire Ozarks as well as the businesses of our community," he said.
The tourist information center will have a railroad theme with railroad memorabilia. "We want tourists to know what kind of town Thayer is. We are a railroad town," the chamber president said. He said the chamber will be accepting donations of railroad memorabilia from the community.
The center will have an 11 space parking area. The caboose will have concrete decks on each end where picnic tables are expected to be placed. Hart said the portion of the caboose facing Highway 63 will be landscaped. "There will be stairs to the sidewalk area where five display pads that will be seven feet in diameter will display railroad memorabilia," Hart said The sidewalk will connect to the sidewalk on Highway 142 East.
The chamber president said Scott Consulting Engineers from Springfield presented the plans for the project. He said chamber members were instrumental in the development of the plans and they were approved by MoDOT. He said the opening of the tourist information center will require hiring a coordinator.
"This is a community effort and a good reason why all businesses in Thayer should belong to the chamber of commerce. In return we will advertise your business at the Thayer Tourist Information Center," Hart said. He added that the chamber would appreciate memorabilia and anyone interested in donating railroad memorabilia to the project should call him at 417-264-4800.