OIL TROUGH, AR (KAIT) – A fire destroyed the Oil Trough city hall and community center last December, but the community is now nearing completion on a new facility.
Workers laid tile Friday afternoon, bringing the new multi-purpose building closer to completion. Mayor Bobby Davis says he hopes to have the facility open in two weeks.
"When we get the floor down, it will go real fast after that," Davis said. "It will be after Christmas, probably the week after Christmas, when we should be done."
The mayor's mood is much different than it was on a cold December morning last year. Davis awoke to a phone call that the town's city hall and community center were on fire. An arsonist set a blaze that destroyed the facility, taking with it years of records and memories.
"We had all the pictures here for the classes, the school classes for years back in the 40s," Davis said. "All of them are gone."
The close-knit community then began figuring out what it would cost to replace the building. Davis says the new facility is worth about $170,000. The town has received numerous donations that helped offset some costs, including a recent $1,000 donation from the VFW Collier Massey Post No. 4683 in Newport.
"(The fire) drained us pretty good, but people's donations and stuff have really helped," Davis added.
The new facility will allow the city government to operate outside a trailer, which has served as a temporary workplace during the past few months. Residents will also enjoy a larger community room and use showers in the restrooms during an emergency or disaster.
"It's going to be real nice when we get done," Davis said. "It's going to be quite an improvement from what we had."
The mayor plans to commemorate all the people who have lent a helping hand during the past year. A dedication ceremony for the new facility is set for early January.