Missouri's Community Betterment Program will host a reception in Houston on Nov. 16.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house is planned for Sept. 7 at the Houston Visitors Center.

City leaders and a local organization, Downtown Houston Inc., set the date last week during a meeting at the historic building situated near Oak Hill Drive and U.S. 63. The event begins at 1 p.m.

The Haney Market – constructed in 1936 and a landmark for commerce in Houston – became a welcome center earlier this year. The Houston Area Chamber of Commerce occupies a portion of the 1,500 square foot building.

Nearby, a wildflower garden complements a city walking trail that continues to expand in the community and sits where a redi-mix plant once operated.

At the meeting, those gathered discussed:

*Organizing a series of artistic shows.

*Development of an invitation and guest list.

*Working with several volunteers to establish a schedule to keep the center open and tidy and assisting those stopping by to learn more about the region.

*Discussed the need for better signage and will contact the Missouri Department of Transportation to place “visitors center” signage on U.S. 63.

*Planting grass when weather conditions improve near a parking lot. Dirt has already arrived for the project.

The Haney Market project and the creation of Lone Star Plaza were projects of the downtown group, which financed the efforts through private donations totaling nearly $500,000. The group’s efforts were aided by its participation in Missouri’s Neighborhood Assistance Program that gives state tax credits to donors and also allows them a federal deduction. Landmark Bank and Town and Country Supermarket were major benefactors of the projects.

The Haney Market project was a big undertaking: The entire structure was renovated. At the project’s start, only stone walls stood as reminder of founder Arthur Haney’s thriving store. A new roof was added, an interior constructed, modern bathrooms included and display cases and desk space also grace the building. The City of Houston recently added a new concrete parking lot west of the visitors center off Oak Hill Drive.

Another projects included: A $360,000 grant paid for many new sidewalks downtown, as well as the first lighting upgrade to the business district since the 1970s. Along the way, new trash receptacles, wrought iron benches and historical copper etchings were added.

 

 

 

 

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