A capacity crowd filled the Houston Visitors Center Tuesday for an open house. Completing a registration book is Vera Gladden. Looking on are Roger Holder and Brenda Skeeters. In the background is Julee Chipps, administrative assistant with the chamber, which is also housed there.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house are under way this afternoon at the Houston Visitors Center.

The historic building is 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.

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.

PDF: Visitors center progress

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