Benton County Inmates Renovate Cave Springs Community Center

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CAVE SPRINGS (KFSM) — Inmates in a Benton County Detention Center work program have started renovations at the Cave Springs Community Center to bring the building back up to date after years of neglect.

The community building was spared from demolition earlier this year after the city council voted to set aside money for restoration.  In June,  the city council set aside $75,000 to fund the necessary building materials if the Benton County Sheriff’s Office agreed to provide the work free of charge using its inmate work program.

A crew of about half a dozen men from the jail began pulling paneling from walls and removing flooring Tuesday (Aug. 16). Aaron Washington is one of them.

“It gives us time to kind of reflect on things we may or may not have neglected while we were out there,” Washington said. “It gives us a chance to think about it and get right back out there in the world.”

Washington worked in construction in the past and said being part of the work program has given him the motivation to keep things on track.

“I do commercial construction on the outside, or landscaping, lawn care,” Washington said. “It sets the tone for what I`m getting ready to do when I get released.”

For years the community center had been in dire need of repair, and the mayor said he hopes this project would bring a positive image to the growing city.

“Instead of it being a tombstone, we can actually use this building, people can come here and use it for a wedding, pictures,” Mayor Travis Lee said. “Then we’re going to have our courts here and our city council, so it’s going to be an important building for us in Cave Springs.”

Lee said doing something with the building was one of his missions when he took office.

A committee of residents and aldermen was created to make decisions regarding the work that will be done to the building.

“[They’ll] make decisions on what we’re going to do inside the building and outside,” Lee said. “From there it goes to our building inspector who is going to delegated it to the team on the sheriff’s office, any other changes will come from the committee.”

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