EARLY— After months of delays Early City Administrator Tony Aaron said the $1.5 million Early Visitor and Event Center will wrap up construction shortly after Feb. 17.

Aaron’s announcement seems to fall in line with previous announcements from city officials regarding the Early Visitor and Events Center, which was originally scheduled to open in December, but unspecified setbacks delayed the project from completion.

“The visitors and events center – the latest update on that is we’re looking for a punch list on February 17 and it should be completed pretty soon after that unless we have any other unforeseen delays,” Aaron said. “We will have some landscaping and parking lot work that the city will be done in house. Hopefully everything works out for a completion by the end of February. We will hope to have the mayor’s state of the city there in the later part of March.”

 The Early Visitor and Event Center - located along Highway 183 just a few miles north of Early Boulevard - will serve travelers, host local events and act as the new home Early Travel and Convention Bureau. With the travel and convention bureau currently sharing a building with the Early Chamber of Commerce inside the Early Small Business Incubator, bureau coordinator Denise Hudson said she cannot wait to move into the new building and show visitors and residents everything the area has to offer.

“We’re really excited. My favorite part of it is the visitor aspect of it. I say all of the time, ‘we live in one of the greatest parts of Texas,’” said Hudson during an event in December. “We’re not the official center, but we’re 39 miles from the geographical center. We have a lot to offer, we just have to let everyone else know … We hope to be able to tell everyone what a great place this is. You’ll be able to stop, use the bathroom and all sorts of other things.”

Along with hosting the state of the city address, Hudson earlier announced the center will host a city firework display to celebrate the March opening. The fireworks display will not be an additional expense to city taxpayers because it was originally scheduled for the Early Texas Showcase, but was cancelled due to torrential rain. The 5,000-square feet facility will house the travel center as well as a court yard and other amenities to serve business and social gatherings. One of the first organizations to reserve the facility was Early ISD, which will use it for their upcoming prom this spring.

“We will have sound systems throughout and we’re looking at using it for anything from movie nights to annual meetings, corporate meetings and things like that,” said Larry McConn, assistant city administrator while giving a tour of the facility last May. “We’re trying to get the school involved for Project Graduations and there has been a farmer’s market interested in [operating] every weekend in the summer ... It’s very multi-use. It’s going to be a great facility as we move forward. It’s not going to be anything like the coliseum. It’s an intimate setting for business meetings and fundraising type events.”