THAYER -- The Thayer Chamber of Commerce recently hired Mildred Cornelius as the coordinator of the Thayer Information Center and Railroad Museum.
Cornelius started the position June 1. The center is located adjacent to McDonald's. It is open seven days a week 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cornelius said the center will remain open until November and close in the cold weather months, opening again in March.
Cornelius said her main job as coordinator of the center is to solicit volunteers to man the center. "I have not lacked for volunteers. Presently, we have a list of 25 people to volunteer. Some volunteer one day a week, some two days a week. They work in three-hour shifts, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.," she said.
She said the chamber has aways focused on tourism. "We (the chamber) have tried to get a tourist information center at Thayer for a long time. The dream became a reality because of a MoDOT grant applied for by the city with help from the chamber," she said.
She said the center features Branson brochures, Missouri souvenirs and other information pertaining to Thayer and the surrounding area as well as local railroad memorabilia.
The chamber of commerce is responsible for the funding of the center. "We are currently looking at other ways to fund the center. One idea is selling Branson show tickets, and another idea is selling commemorative bricks for railroad families," she said.
She said the center is a community project and she is open to ideas pertaining to the center.
"I recently made an agreement with Thayer High School to give their students the opportunity to earn community service hours by volunteering at the center," she said. Thayer High School A+ Coordinator Donna Franz said community service hours are needed to obtain some scholarships.
Cornelius said since June 1, 416 people have visited the center. "Eighty-four visitors were local people and 332 were from out of the area," she said.
She said the chamber of commerce is focusing on tourism. "Our idea is to get people off Highway 63 at Thayer. We want them to spend the night, buy food, and fuel and shop in Thayer," Cornelius said.
She said there are no signs along Highway 63 telling tourists about the tourist information center, but she has spoken to MoDOT and two signs are expected be placed along the highway around Labor Day.
Cornelius has lived in Thayer 60 years. She has five children, 15 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. She said she had children in the Thayer Public School System for 35 years. She said she has always taught her children and grandchildren to get involved in their community.
Cornelius said she has always been community orientated. She has been a member of the Thayer Chamber of Commerce for 20 years and has served as chamber secretary for 20 years.
She said anyone with any fundraising ideas or anyone who would like to be placed on the volunteer list for the center can call her at 264-7797.