Ft. Scott to begin work keeping Memorial Hall alive

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A Southeast Kansas community is updating a historic city facility to help keep it alive for another century. City leaders in Ft. Scott say over the next several years they’ll be working to update Memorial Hall.

Over the years, Memorial Hall has served the city in a lot of ways, from being the home of city government to hosting music and entertainment. And the hall has even helped bring money to town. In fact, Ft. Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsay Madison says it’s just one piece to the tourism puzzle.

“Our shopping, our restaurants, our attractions such as Gunn Park,” says Lindsay Madison.

But Madison says the key to continuing the trend is to keep an eye out for the next big draw. And Memorial Hall plays a big part in that.

“It’s an awesome large scale, as far as seating goes, so that’s great for those types of events that are on a bigger scale,” says Madison.

Memorial Hall was built in 1925 to pay tribute to the men who served in World War One. Over the years, some things have changed, and others, like the seating, have remained the same.

“We have to evolve with the times, we have to be more flexible and a lot more nimble about how we can use the hall,” says Rhonda Dunn, Director of Community Development..

Director of Community Development Rhonda Dunn says over the next several years the city will be working to update Memorial Hall. And that work starts with the chairs.

“You’re seeing this building transition from an open seating hall for performances to we hope to see this one day be a small convention center,” says Rhonda Dunn.

To do that, workers will replace the old metal and wood seats with newer chairs. Those chairs will be free standing, allowing for any configuration desired. Dunn says by doing this, the city is hoping to add years onto the life of the facility.

“It’s really important for us to preserve and honor the reason this building was built while letting it evolve and be more useful to the community,” says Dunn.

Over the next few years several other items are on the agenda, like painting. As for the chairs, tonight will be the last time the old chairs are used by the public.

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