Plans scaled back, park board closer to final goal ahead of Frontier Days
After nearly four years of discussion and retooling, Harper Community Park Association will soon begin work to replace its community hall.
Demolition on the 55-year-old current Harper Community Hall will begin on Monday, Aug. 20.
The new Harper Community Hall, a scaled-down version of the original plans, will begin once demolition of the old hall is completed.
The project is largely funded through donations and grants. Roughly $565,000 of a total $739,200 has been donated or pledged, said Mike Zenner, a Harper native who moved back to the area after a corporate career.
“Original plans for the facility included a 13,000-square-foot hall at a cost of $1.2 million, and some felt that was just too much to bite off for our small community,” Zenner said. He said plans were scaled back under a new building committee that agreed on a smaller, more affordable facility.
“There is an absolute need for this space, which will better serve Harper and the surrounding area,” Zenner said. “It will be in high demand for wedding receptions, family reunions and community events. We believe the new hall will create a new sense of community and pride by providing space for young and old, alike.”
Zenner said the new hall will be built to Americans with Disabilities Act specifications so it will be totally accessible.
The 13-acre park also includes a rodeo arena, covered pavilion, picnic tables, playground, barbecue pits, a small tank for fishing, an 1800s log cabin and the Harper Historical Society Museum.
Meeting a need
“Harper is growing,” he said. “Just look at our schools and how many households our post office serves.”
The Harper Community Park Board hopes to market the facility to neighbors in Doss, Cherry Spring, Mountain Home, Fredericksburg, Ingram, Junction, Mason, Tierra Linda, London, Hunt and Kerrville.
“In addition, the Harper Independent School District has property that adjoins the park grounds and the district uses the park, pavilion and hall for all types of school events,” Zenner said.
Other civic organizations use the park facilities, such as 4-H, FFA, Harper Ag & Livestock Organization, youth sports, American Legion, local churches, the Harper Chamber of Commerce, the Harper Library, school groups and the Western Dance Club.
Annual events like the Jacob Krebs Youth Hunt and the Sweetheart Banquet, in honor of widows and widowers, will also have access to use the new venue.
Hill Country Memorial has been looking to bring additional resources to the Harper area that are focused on seniors and the new air-conditioned facilities could assist that effort.
The new Community Hall will also feature two conference rooms that can double as dressing rooms, as well as an office for the park association.
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