PRINCETON — Gibson County Tourism and Visitors Commission members agreed to continue to pay part-time Lyles Station Historic School and Museum employees for another six months at Thursday morning’s meeting.
Stanley Madison, chairman and founder of Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corp., said they need to continue to have part-time employees to give tours and greet guests, with the national exposure from the Lyles Station display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C..
Madison said he’s working on different projects for the school and can’t always be at the school to give tours. He said in the past, guests have come to the school and no one was there to greet them, or the doors were locked, so they walked around the school or drove off.
Eric Heidenreich, Gibson County Visitors and Tourism executive director, said in June, commission members agreed hire then-Oakland City student Audrey Pleiss as a part-time worker at Lyles Station. They also hired Kevin Smith, who fills in when Pleiss is out.
Madison said even with more interest in the school, they still aren’t making enough money to support two part-time employees. Their $10 hourly salaries are paid by Lyles Station and reimbursed by the Gibson County Visitors and Tourism Bureau.
Employees work from 1-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Madison said he’s gotten numerous comments and cards about how professional and knowledgeable Smith and Pleiss are. “They’ve made a big impact on people from out of state and the county.”
Commission member Brian Baker, OCU associate vice president for advancement, agreed with the comments. Baker said he took his daughter to the school and thought the tour guide did an excellent job.
Madison said in the last three months, they’ve seen more foot traffic at the school and museum, and more interest in 2018. He said he hopes to have a final number of guests at next month’s meeting.
He said Pleiss resigned, and they’ll need to look to fill her position in February, in case Smith needs to be off.
“We’re working on how we can improve what we have out there,” Madison said.
Madison abstained from voting on the topic.