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Visitors Bureau, Welcome Center moving to Heritage Park

The McCampbell House in Heritage Park, which is rumored to be haunted, was once home to the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce. It will soon be one of three historic homes in the park to house offices of the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Visitors Information Center, which is moving from the downtown seawall.

The Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau will soon be moving into the Ward-McCampbell House in Heritage Park, the one-time home of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce. The chamber recently moved to the new RTA building uptown.

CVB offices will also take over the Jalufka-Govatos House next door, while the Visitors Center, now on the downtown seawall, will move to the Merriman-Bobys House.

All three homes sit side by side in the park. The Ward-McCampbell house is said to be haunted by its original owner, Mary Alice Ward McCampbell. The home was built in 1908 on Water Street. It was moved one block away to 1501 N. Chaparral St. in 1983.

Most of the homes in Heritage Park were moved to this location from their original building sites elsewhere in the city. The Jalufka-Govatos House was built in 1905 by James Jalufka in what was then known as “Old Irishtown” on North Mesquite Street. It was moved to Heritage Park in 1990.

The Merriman-Bobys House was built in 1851 by Walter Merriman. It is the second-oldest structure still standing in Corpus Christi and was originally located at 801 S. Upper Broadway. It was moved in 1982. (Centennial House is the oldest building in the city and still resides in its original location at 411 N. Upper Broadway.)

CVB’s move into the historic area serves two purposes. It saves the CVB money and fits into a plan to revitalize the area, said Theresa Rodriguez Bartlett, chief public affairs and business development officer for the CVB.

“We want to make Heritage Park a more lively place,” she told Corpus Christi Business News. “It’s a beautiful, historic part of our town. Who better than the CVB to showcase it.”

Employees dressed in historic costumes could be part of the upcoming change.

Food Truck Friday will make the move as well, which should happen in October. Food trucks gather at the Visitors Center location on the seawall on the last Friday of the month for A La Mano. The Visitors Center provides live music and games, while the food trucks bring lunch and drinks for purchase.

The move will need final approval from the City Council, which is expected at the Aug. 8 meeting. The city owns the properties and must approve the lease agreement. Lease terms are for five years with an option to extend an additional five years. The cost of the $3,000 lease can be offset by building improvements, which the CVB plans to do.

Heritage Park hosts the annual Texas Jazz Fest and other events throughout the year. It is also the starting point for monthly Harbor Bridge walks, which happen every first Sunday after the first Friday of the month. The walks are followed by free activities in the park.

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