Debbie Davis, longtime advocate, leader and supporter of the Eureka Springs Community Center, has been named Foundation Board Chair following the retirement of Diane Murphy.
Davis, who advocated for a community center concept since moving here more than 30 years ago, was asked to serve on the board three years ago.
“I became involved with this worthwhile project because, as a Eureka Springs teacher and administrator, I saw a need for community outreach beyond just our schools’ students and parents,” Davis explained.
To meet that need, a successful community education program was created and continued for many years. Davis saw the natural outgrowth of that program as the creation of a community center.
“Some visionary individuals in our town saw the opportunity when the old high school became available,” Davis said. “The hard work and dedication of community leaders like Diane Murphy and others in the original group enabled us to progress to where we are today with a mostly renovated facility and endless possibilities for growth in programs.”
The pandemic curtailed some of the Center’s services, and large groups as well as some in-person instruction had to be scaled back, but a wide range of activities are still offered online and in the expanded fitness center.
“With the help of the board, our director, Cat Luna, has expanded programs to be Covid safety compliant. Our trails committee worked diligently to complete the perimeter fitness trail in order to provide safe outdoor activity during this health crisis. We’re planning to gear up for more classes and activities as the weather gets warmer and we can hold classes outside,” Davis said.
As for the future, Davis feels it’s imperative to continue to develop and lease units in the business center complex as this income will help support operation of the community center. Several units are completed and ready to lease.
“So much of the time our town’s focus has been on attracting and entertaining the people who come to visit our unique community. I believe that if we create an atmosphere that enables us to be a great place to live as well as visit, it will attract tourists who want to experience a place where people are learning, growing and positively interacting as a community. I feel blessed to call Eureka Springs my home and want to help create even more healthy learning and connection opportunities for our residents.
“We have a vision for continuing development of a vibrant hub for a healthy, community-centered place of gathering and learning for our town,” she said. “Our farmers’ market has been a valued partner from the beginning, and we hope to eventually have a pavilion for them and other community events. Some of our other long-range plans include a splash pad, which my six grandchildren are anxiously awaiting! There is a large space in the main building still to be renovated where large events can take place. More classroom space and rooms for small meetings will be available.
“We are looking forward to greatly expanding our programming and facilities’ usage post-pandemic. We are longing for the ability to gather together once again, and our community center will be the perfect place!”