Photo by Chris Cooper Several intricate persons in the Hotel Ducan project shoveled dirt into the mix that made up the cornerstone.

Photo by Chris Cooper

Several intricate persons in the Hotel Ducan project shoveled dirt into the mix that made up the cornerstone.

Despite the rain and cold weather, numerous supporters of the Hirsch family and the Hotel Duncan project attended a ground blessing that began under a tent off of 4th Street Monday morning.

"This was an invitation to the people that I love and those who supported me over the years," said Deborah Hirsch of the 50 plus who attended. Hirsch added that the project of building a hotel of this magnitude is difficult. "Thank you to everyone who has shown their support."

Brent Summers began the ceremony by thanking a few people in attendance: Russellville City Building and Zoning Administrator Bill Pearson, Russellville City Council members Jimmy Davenport and Diane Walker, local attorney Jay Joines, the Fathers of Mercy from South Union, and the "visionary lady" herself, Mrs. Hirsch.

Hirsch opened by asking for applause for all the veterans in our country. She mentioned that several of those working on the project were former military. She also apologized for the event being held in the cold saying she had had a little health setback and meant for it to be held in the warmer weather.

"I would like to take a moment and tell you that 13 years ago we bought a house here and Russellville became our home," Hirsch said. "When we got here there were buildings on the square that was in terrible disarray. I hired engineers who all told me to tear them down and start new. I want to build something that would fit in the community. The architect (Bill Mimms) that I hired gets it. We want it functional for the community but also want it to fit in here. Modern doesn't fit. It's not nice to look at. We want a building that will fit and make you all proud."

Hirsch said there will be two restaurants in the Hotel Duncan. A sports bar and a garden restaurant. "When you are eating in the garden restaurant, you will think you are on vacation in Florida," Hirsch added.

Introducing Father David of the Fathers of Mercy in South Union, Hirsch said her family were proud Catholics and the Fathers of Mercy were very dear friends of hers.

Father David prayed over and sprinkled holy water onto the property that will become the Hotel Duncan asking that all who work on the project stay safe. Scripture was read as well.

"We want to bless this ground and all the workers that will be working on this corner over the next year. We want to have a profitable business and we want our guests to be safe as well," said Hirsch.

A reception was held for those in attendance after the ceremony at the project business office a few doors down from Ariella restaurant, which Hirsch also owns.