NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - For the first time, scheduled events at the Nacogdoches County Exposition Center had to be canceled when the building was placed into "shelter mode" after Hurricane Harvey displaced thousands across the state.
The revenue loss is significant, but as the manager told East Texas News, when placed into perspective with the loss of Hurricane Harvey evacuees, it's nothing at all.
Nacogdoches County expo manager Anita Scott conducted one of the last expenditures of a budgeted year Monday. It has been a year she knows will end in the red.
"We canceled the Texas Market Guide, the G & S Gun Show, and also the Region V High School Rodeo," said Anita Scott, the Nacogdoches County Civic and Expo manager.
Scott estimates returned deposits and lost rental add up to over $20,000.
"We needed those events to be able to reach our projected revenue budget, but like I said, we are first and foremost an emergency evacuation shelter, so that comes first," Scott said.
Operational costs, like electricity, and overtime will be reimbursed by federal agencies. It won't make up for the booking losses.
The loss and postponement of lost contracts is simply a consequence of working in facility originally designed as a shelter. It's a responsibility the staff accepts willingly.
"The stories they tell you. How they've been displaced and needing help," said Kent O'Neal, an Expo Center staff member. "Some of them got homes to go back to and some of them don't."
"We've met nothing but good people that's been out here helping us. Volunteers," said Deputy James Barfield. "Every single volunteer we've had has been more than helpful."
Then there's the team effort between expo staff and the American Red Cross.
"We would not have been nearly this successful without this part of the team being so awesome," said Scott Brawley, the regional director for the American Red Cross. "Likewise. We feel the same way about everybody that came out. It was definitely a team effort, and I think we did good. One down."
The shelter closes tomorrow. Evacuees will look toward their future. Scott and her staff of six will do so as well. They're now preparing the expo for a weekend rodeo and the Pineywoods Fair in October.