December 5, 2007 Edition

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County meeting room to be
featured in downtown building

County Judge Alex Latham and Robert Hutcherson, who donated the former Hutcherson Furniture building to the county, discuss additional plans for the building following a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new county meeting room.

In what County Judge Alex Latham hopes will be a breath of new life into downtown Walnut Ridge, the first phase of renovations to the former Hutcherson Furniture building is complete.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Monday morning for the new Lawrence County meeting room. Latham said the county currently has enough chairs to seat 100 individuals in the room, with plans to add additional seating.

Local businesses will be displaying their products, such as plants, wall art and furnishings, to provide additional decor to the building. Plaques will be displayed to give credit to those providing items.

Robert Hutcherson and his wife, Paula, donated the building to the county. Hutcherson said he is pleased to see the renovations thus far and to know that the building will be getting some use.

"They've done a very good job of renovating," he said. "I'm proud that they've utilized it, and I hope in years to come people will use it."

As he sat in the new meeting room, Hutcherson said a lot of good memories came rushing back.

The block where the building is located used to be the site of the furniture store, his grandmother's house and a government office, as well as Celia Cypret's beauty shop and Buck Floyd's barber shop.

"In 1984 the store burned," Hutcherson said. "We tore everything down and built this facility."

Plans are still ongoing concerning the possibility of the Lawrence County Library relocating to the building, as well, according to Latham.

He said the meeting room's primary purpose will be for government use, but it will be available to the public for rent once all the guidelines are in place

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