A new visitor’s center at Rough River Lake could lead more tourists to Grayson County.
A contingent of volunteers from Friends of Rough River Lake and Breckinridge County officials were on hand Saturday, May 19, for the official ribbon cutting for the center. A few Grayson County officials attended the ribbon cutting, but none apparently were invited to speak.
“Rough River is probably the best-kept secret we in Breckinridge County — and we share this with Grayson County — have,” Breckinridge County Judge Executive Maurice Lucas said.
Park Manager Diane Stratton said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and volunteers from Friends of Rough River Lake teamed up to convert a house across the road from the Corps project office into the visitor’s center. The Corps received a $30,000 grant to help remodel the house, and the Friends kicked in $20,000 plus a lot of labor.
“Ever since January, they’ve been here five days a week working on that building,” Stratton said recently.
The house was completely gutted, with the living room converted into a front desk and information center, and the garage into a meeting center that can seat at least 24 people. Rounding out the space will be an office for the Friends, a gift shop and an area where children can see, touch and feel exhibits pertaining to the park.
A key offering in the new center will be tourism information. Because regulations prohibit advertising in federal buildings, the Corps project office — now the de facto visitor’s center — hasn’t been able to offer information on area restaurants or businesses that tourists might want to visit. The Corps building also isn’t open on weekends, when a lot of out-of-town visitors are at Rough River Lake.
The new center will have a “business wall” with tourism information, and will be staffed by the Friends on the weekends.