Emporia Emporia is revved up by NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer's latest contribution to his hometown.
Bowyer and several Emporia community leaders broke ground Monday on what will eventually be the Bowyer Community Building at the Lyon County Fairgrounds. When it opens in September, the 6,000-square foot building will be available to the community for celebrations, conventions and community gatherings. It includes a retractable roof and an outdoor amphitheater.
Bowyer helped finance the building with $1 million through his 79 Fund, The Emporia Gazette reported. The 79 Fund has supported various projects in Emporia for years.
Bowyer said he enjoyed the process of planning the center, although he admitted the pace is a little slow.
"In racing everything happens fast, so I'm not used to all this," he said. "I'm like 'C'mon man, give me a shovel. Let's get going.'"
The building will truly be a community building, he said.
"I want everyone to be able to use it and be proud of it," he said. "We've put a lot of work and money into the design."
Rob Cunningham, project manager with KBS Construction, said construction bids will come in this week and that the company is waiting for a building permit from the city of Emporia. Construction is expected to start next month.
Lyon County Commissioner Rollie Martin said the building will help with the quality of life in Emporia and Lyon County. And he noted it had sparked discussion about the future of the fairgrounds.
"This will lead to future development on the fairgrounds and improvements that many people are working on right now," Martin said.