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Friday, December 19, 2014, 5:57 a.m.
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Conway senior center still on the market

By Tammy Keith

This article was published January 16, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

CONWAY — Although the sign was gone last week, the Conway Senior Wellness and Activity Center is still for sale, said Debra Robinson, executive director of the Faulkner County Senior Citizens Program.

“It is not sold,” Robinson said. “Somebody tore our sign down over the weekend.

“We’ve had a few people come by that were interested, a couple of churches. Nobody’s made an offer.”

The building at 1620 Donaghey Ave., a former church, was appraised at $660,000, she said.

A firm selling price hasn’t been set, Robinson said.

“Right now, we’ve just kind of told everybody — look at it, see if it fits your needs, and make an offer,” she said.

Almost a year ago, the Faulkner County Council on Aging Board of Directors signed a contract for $1.95 million to buy the Agora Special Events and Conference Center on Siebenmorgen Road.

Robinson said the senior citizens program is growing, and the current building, bought in 1980, is much too small for all of the center’s activities.

The Donaghey center has 9,446 square feet, and Agora has 18,750 square feet.

Renovations, particularly to the kitchen, have to be done before the program can move into the bigger space, Robinson said.

“There are some places inside — the floors need to be fixed, maybe they’re cracked,” she said. “We’ve got to put a fence over there so we can park our buses so they can be locked up, … but it’s mainly the kitchen. The kitchen is what is keeping us from being over there. It’s a small kitchen.

“We do close to 500 meals every day, and we’ve got to have a big space where it’s convenient for us.”

She said the senior citizens program had “a couple of banquets [at Agora], and I don’t know how they did it, really.”

Robinson also said that a “stone brick facade” will be added to the front of the metal building.

“The bidding process is about ready to start,” she said, and construction should begin in March.

“We probably won’t get in till May or June,” Robinson said.

A $2 million capital campaign launched last year in April is still underway, and about $1.7 million has been raised, said Lori Melton, one of the campaign’s co-chairwomen.

“We are thrilled to be this close to our goal in such a short period of time,” Melton said. “We had a flurry of donations at year’s end and are very appreciative of these donors.”

Robinson said the program received $50,000 from the Fred and June MacMurray Foundation.

“We got $270,000 from our senators and representatives from the General Improvement Fund,” she said. “That strictly has to go toward the renovation.

“We’re waiting to hear from the [J.E. and L.E.] Mabee Foundation.”

Robinson said the senior program has applied to another foundation, as well.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed and hoping we get those,” she said.

To complete the capital campaign, “we’re waiting on the other foundations and selling our building,” Robinson said.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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