New Welcome Center almost complete in Lyons

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 5:26 PM EST
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LYONS, Ga. (WTOC) - The City of Lyons is just about ready to open their new Welcome Center on Northwest Broad Street.

It’s a project more than two years in the making.

The current Welcome Center has been in use for more than 20 years. The new Welcome Center is being built right next door.

“We’re just trying to revitalize our downtown and put these old buildings to use,” Lyons Main Street Director Daphne Walker said.

For two and half years, Walker says they’ve been hard at work making this project come to life.

“It’s our largest project,” she said.

This three-story brick building has a long history.

“This was a car and auto shop, so we redid the floors. You can still see some paint and oil stains in the floors,” Walker said.

Walker says at one point it was a space the Shriner’s used. Most recently, it housed the Altamaha Heritage Museum.

Walker says the museum didn’t really get a lot of attention though because they could only be open for short periods of time.

“By making this move we can have the museum open all the time,” she said.

Walker says they will be able to expand the operating hours because the Welcome Center, Main Street offices and the museum will share the new building and be staffed every day.

“I have a few sets that will be permanent like my moonshine still, the turpentine exhibit and a giant barn loom,” Walker said.

Walker says the other exhibits will rotate, so people can experience something new each time they come.

“I’m hoping that we can get some local history and pictures that we can add in and really give this community somewhere to go and learn and share,” she said.

Walker says they’ve done $130,000 in renovations so far. This project, she says, is thanks to the success of some of the city’s biggest events including the Soap Box Derby and the Real Squeal BBQ and Music Festival.

“Funds that we receive from hosting these events, we pour back into the community,” Walker said.

Walker says they will be all moved in by the end of March. As for the old Welcome Center, it’ll be up to the Lyons Downtown Development Authority to decide what it’ll be used for.