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Plant City Observer Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 1 week ago

Tourist Information Center to move into Chamber building

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The move is set to take place at the end of April, and the center will be re-located into the chamber’s existing lobby.
by: Emily Topper Staff Writer

In just a few months, Plant City’s Tourist Information Center will have a new home. 

The center’s current location at 1702 N. Park Road will be converted into office space for the city’s new fire station. The station is being built to enhance services and improve response times across the city, including the developing areas of Varrea and North Park Isles. 

The center will be relocated into the same building as the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, located on North Evers Street in Historic Downtown. 

For Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce President Christine Miller, the move couldn’t have come at a better time. She hopes that the transition will continue to show visitors all that Plant City has to offer, including restaurants and tourist destinations in the downtown area. 

“We want people to know we’re warm and welcoming,” Miller said. “We want them to come in and have that piece of Plant City.” 

The chamber’s existing lobby will be transformed between now and the end of April, when the existing tourist center must be vacated. Walls that currently close off a small library will be torn down, and the lobby will receive new tile, paint and ceiling work. 

“They’ll see how neat it is, and hopefully they’ll stay for a bit,” Jason Jones, the 2018 chair-elect for the chamber and the current chair of the building committee, said. “We want it to have an updated, modern feel.” 

Last month, the chamber was certified as an official Visit Florida travel information center. To become such, the chamber must be open year-round a minimum of five days per week and located in a convenient place for traveler ease – guidelines the tourist center, open 363 days per year, also follows. 

The part of the building that houses the chamber won’t have any updates made to it. Barn doors will replace a current gate that separates the chamber from the lobby, creating a more welcome and open feel. Bistro tables and chairs also will be added to the lobby. 

“It will feel like a natural space,” Miller said. “We’re putting brochures behind the tourist center desk. We hope it gets a conversation going. By cultivating conversation with visitors, we can meet that need. It’s an important component to growth that the city wants. This was our first priority. We want them to see the visitor center and the chamber as a destination.” 

In addition to educating visitors, Jones and Miller hope that the center will be a resource for Plant City residents new and old. 

“We want people to come and learn about the community more,” he said. “It’s a whole experience.” 

The renovations to the chamber are currently in the planning phase, and cost for the project has not yet been determined. Bids are currently being accepted for the renovation. 

“We will likely have two volunteers every shift,” Miller said. “We’ll be looking for additional volunteers. We’re looking forward to the impact that this one move will have on the community.” 

Contact Emily Topper at [email protected]

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