Vacant recreation center on road to renovations

Local News

Hope is on the horizon for a former Texarkana recreational center complex that’s been unused for several years. 

City leaders said it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of money to get the former Boys and Girls Club building back open for recreational use. 

“When a building goes vacant, and you have structural damage like we’ve had with the roof problems, everything deteriorates very quickly,” said Public Works Director Tyler Richards. 

The Boys and Girls Club donated the facility to the city of Texarkana, Arkansas, in 2011. Richards said it hadn’t been used for several years before that time.  

“Nothing’s been done with it for so long, it’s gotten so bad that it’s gonna take a million dollars to get functional again,” said Richards. 

This week the city’s Board of Directors approved applying for a Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 108 loan for more than $884,000. The funds would help get the building up to code and back to fililng a need in the community as an all-ages rec-center. 

“That interest hasn’t just come up in recent times, it’s been there for quite a while,” said Richards. “We’ve just been a little clueless as to how to make it happen.”

The upgrades aren’t limited to the building. The city’s parks team plans to also upgrade the sports fields surrounding the site to help attract more tournaments to town. 

“The more fields we have, the more teams we can host,” said Sports Manager Adam Dalby. “The more teams we can host, the more that are going to stay in the hotels and bring economic impact to our city.”

“The vision is for this place to be self-sufficient to where the city doesn’t have to pour any money into it,” said Richards.

Dalby said they plan to begin work on the ball fields this fall to have them game-ready by 2020. 

City leaders said if the loan funding is approved, it will still take several years to complete all the repairs to the building. 

You can view the city’s loan application with complete plans for the renovations here: City of Texarkana Section 108 Loan Proposal.

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