LETTERS: Trial and error in the early days of the Waco Convention Center | Letters
trial and error
I wish they were here. Half a century ago, a new Waco City Board of Directors held its first meeting. The gleaming new convention center was complete, and I, inexperienced and inexperienced, had been chosen as a member of its first board of directors to oversee the center’s opening and operations. My inexperience was more than offset by the civic, business and life experience of the other members: Mac Louden, a former mayor; Clarence Lander, a fuel distributor; Steele Alexander, manager of a local upscale motel; and Nick Klaras, restaurant owner. Looking back on those early days, I wish they were here to see what 50 years have accomplished.
Those first few months were trial and error, from the mundane—selection of cooking and serving utensils, and folding chairs—to complex and important decisions about sound and lighting, rental rates, and how to attracting “customers”, local and out of town, to bring to events and help pay for center operations. When operations began, even with a dedicated and hardworking new staff, we Board members spent more than time meeting in the new building on a constant “journey of discovery” to keep the center running.
All other original members have left. I miss their friendship and the sense of mutual accomplishment we enjoyed. As the city celebrates the convention center’s 50th anniversary, these other original members and staffers like Bill Meadows and Harley Spoon Sr., owe a collective “thank you.” It’s all too easy to forget that before the convention center, Waco was well known for its lack of comfortable, attractive, and welcoming venues for conventions, large meetings, and events. The city center needed a boost and the local slump spread beyond the city center.