Efforts by the Town of Paw Paw and the Paw Paw Proud Committee to reopen a town-owned visitor’s center have come to fruition, with financial support from the county’s Hotel/Motel funds.
Town Manager Ron Davis said the facility was opened in time for Memorial Day festivities, and remains open daily.
Visitors can go inside the small building to use restrooms and pick up tourism and business brochures on display. The door is controlled by a timed lock and will open between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Security cameras allow the town to monitor activity there remotely.
Morgan Wireless, a local broadband internet provider, has a tower next to the building and offers free broadband access at the center.
Paw Paw Proud, a tourism and business promotion group, made an application to the Morgan County Commission for funds to paint, equip and create signs for the entrance to the small building that sits on the north end of town.
In March, commissioners approved part of the request, saying up to $10,000 of the county’s Hotel/Motel funds could be used toward the visitor’s center. Hotel/Motel funds are collected from visitors to lodging businesses in the county, and must be spent on tourism promotion, recreation or historical promotion efforts.
Davis said painting, gravel for the parking lot and signage was paid for out of the county funds.
The visitor’s center backs up to town-owned property that has been under development as a recreation hub for Paw Paw. An oval gravel walking track was built there last spring. A volleyball net has been added to the center of the track. Benches have been built around the edges of the walking area, and dozens of trees have been planted at the edges of the property.
Davis said the Region 9 Planning & Development Council recently invested in a concept plan for that town property, which sketches out future additions of basketball and pickleball courts, covered pavilions and picnic areas, and possibly playground equipment for younger children. That recreation space would be connected with a trail to the visitor’s center, Davis said.