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Rave reviews for an improved Hinely Center
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Visitors to the renovated Vernon C. Hinely Center listen as Rincon Mayor Ken Lee talks about the improvements made to the building. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

The makeover is finished for Rincon’s Vernon C. Hinely Center — and the old building’s new look is drawing a warm welcome.

“I love it,” said Betty Widener, a native of Egypt and a lifelong resident of Effingham County. “To see the improvements, I love it, especially the bathrooms. I’ve seen the changes throughout Rincon. It’s fabulous.”

Work on the building began in March and continued through April, with the edifice getting new windows, doors, paint and flooring. The bathrooms also were brought up to Americans With Disabilities Act standards.

“It’s been in need of an upgrade for quite some time, and we’re proud to be able to do this,” Rincon Mayor Ken Lee said. “We’re glad to be able to offer this.”

Funding for the improvements was done through an ADA grant. Rincon Recreation Director David Wooten offered his thanks to city planner LaMeisha Hunter and the city staff for helping to procure the grant money needed for the work.

“Without their help, we may not have been able to do this this quickly,” he said.

Paul Wendelken, a nephew of the center’s namesake, also was impressed with the changes to the building.

“We’ll get a lot more use of it,” he said.

Many Hinely family members are expected in the area in September, state Rep. Ann Purcell (R-Rincon) noted.

“I think they are going to be impressed,” she said.

Purcell too was taken with the changes that had been undertaken at the venerable building.

“I think this is great,” she said. “I think this is great.”

The Effingham Chamber of Commerce and the Rincon Garden Club provided letters of support in the grant application, and Hunter said the Georgia Secretary of State’s office is using Rincon’s application as the model for others to come.

“This is what grant money is for,” she said.

City officials pointed to the addition of the Lions Club building next to Macomber Park and the Lost Plantation Golf Club to the city’s inventory as potential meeting spaces.

“Our area has been limited in venues, particularly for larger groups,” Lee said.

Said Council member Levi Scott: “We’re trying to put some things in place so you don’t have to leave Rincon.”

The Hinely Center is available for rental for a $100 fee and a $50 refundable deposit for cleanup and damages.

Hunter also praised the work done by Kieffer Construction, and its most frequent users also expressed their appreciation for the renovated building.

“From all of us bingo players,” Widener said, “thank you so much.”