Old Lubbock Building Could Become New Visitor Center - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/22/08

Old Lubbock Building Could Become New Visitor Center

New ideas to cut cost on a future visitor center in Lubbock were talked about Thursday at the work session meeting. The original visitor center was set to cost $6.7 million. That number was reduced to $5.9 million, but the city council says they want to see it go even lower. 

The Rip Griffin Oil Company is in a building that, use to be known as the Tara West building, an old farm house that was built in 1940. Mayor Tom Martin calls the building a Lubbock icon. But after Thursday's city council meeting the Tara West building may be the new visitor center. 

Councilman John Leonard proposed this idea at the meeting. "Why not move that building put it on this site, it's a nice attractive building," said Leonard. The site Leonard talked about is the original location of the future visitor center on the corner of 19th Street and Crickets Avenue.

The main issue of not rebuilding a brand new visitor center is money. "Can we get the job done with less square footage, so we can reduce the price on the thing," said Lubbock Councilman Jim Gilbreath.

Assistant City Manager Rob Allison presented to the council, why the center was set to cost so much money. He said that items such as a theater and a walk of fame were not essential to a visitor center, but would increase its attraction. "Visitor centers become the front door of a community as well as the region and that's the service they provide," said Allison.  

Mayor Tom Martin asked the city manager and staff to explore the idea of using the Tara West building, which is already owned by the city. The mayor says that the building would have to be moved regardless, because of the expansion of Slide Road. "It appears to me that the council consensus is we all want a visitor center. I don't think that there is anybody up here that disagrees with that, but we all want one that is cost effective and we have an idea of reusing a building we already own, and we got to either move it or tear it down and haul it to the landfill," said Martin.

 The mayor says he is unaware of how much moving a building is going to cost, but he asked the city manager and staff to look into these costs and present them at a later meeting. 

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