LACONIA — With the decision of the owner of the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa to close the Opechee Conference Center in June, the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction will be seeking a new home.
In response to the decision, Mike Seymour, who chairs the board of the directors of the auction, and fellow board member Ed Darling issued a statement last week stressing that "we have been privileged and honored to call The Conference Center at the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa home for the past decade. The success of the auction is in no small part due to the stability of being in one place for this lengthy period."
They went on to say that "while we regret the need to find a new home, we understand the decisions that are being made at this time are ones that are in the best interest of the long-term health and vitality of this important landmark property. It is our hope," they continued, "that as this property develops and continues to change, there will an opportunity in the future to consider bringing the auction back to the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa. We know that we will continue to have their strong support and will benefit from our continued relationship with them as we have for the last decade."
Meanwhile, Seymour said Monday that the board will begin its search for a new venue in January. He explained that the auction requires a venue that meets three major criteria.
"We would like for it to be as centrally located in the Lakes Region and as easy to get to as possible," he said, adding that Laconia is probably the most suitable location. Size, he continued, is also important since the auction needs a large space for the studio, telephone banks and greeting area, along with room to store inventory and an area to prepare refreshments and take breaks.
Finally, Seymour noted, the venue must be capable of handling a significant amount of wiring, cables and conduit for Metrocast Cablevision, Lakes Region Public Access Television and the telephone bank. The wiring, he said, remained in place throughout the year at the Conference Center, where it was hidden in ceilings, which was a significant convenience.
"There are a lot of factors in play," Seymour said, "and we would like six to eight months lead time to work with our partners to develop and implement a plan."