HARDY, AR (KAIT) – The non-profit group called Main Street Hardyformed 20 years ago to promote and preserve the town's historic downtown area.
The group has finally moved its headquarters into the historicBigger's building on Main Street, but the building is far from being move-in ready.
Main Street Hardy plans to open its new headquarters to thepublic by August, an ambitious goal considering how neglected the building was.What the group needs now are volunteers to help complete this restorationproject.
"We're making progress. We're real close," Al Corte said,who serves as executive director of Main Street Hardy. "We're about 30 daysaway from opening the doors."
Corte has gotten his hands dirty along with some faithfulvolunteers to fully renovate the nearly 6,000 square foot, two-story facility,located at the corner of Spring and Main Streets.
The non-profit group has searched for a permanent home eversince it started in 1993. The group has bounced from one place to the next overthe years. Its officers are currently housed in the basement of the historicgym in Hardy until the renovations at the Bigger's building are completed.
The construction crews have so far addressed several majorstructural issues at the new facility, including reinforcing the mezzaninelevel that connects the first and second floors by stairs. They still have toclear out and clean up the second floor, which will eventually house offices, aconference area and an open event space.
On the main level, crews have almost filled all the cracksin the walls, but they still have to paint and finish building a stage in thefront window. The first floor will double as a visitor information center and anopen meeting area, where the group will likely host its weekly bingo games.
The owner of the Bigger's building agreed to lease thebuilding to Main Street Hardy at no cost for a year. Corte says anyimprovements the group makes during that time will be deducted from the purchaseprice.
"Twelve months from now when we sit down with the owner, we'llhave quite a bit of repairs that have been done to this building," he said. "Itwill reduce our cost significantly. I think it's going to be a win-win foreverybody."
With the tentative opening date looming, Corte says any andall help is needed.
"I want to thank those who have participated, and I sure doencourage those to come on board and help participate to get this rocking," hesaid.
"It's encouraging to see that when there's something that'ssignificant, people do step up," he added. "We're seeing that, and it's a goodwarm feeling."
Main Street Hardy plans to host a volunteer day in the nextfew weeks so that it can complete painting and several other projects.
If anyone would like to help out, visit this link or call AlCorte at 870-635-2113.