Concerned community members in Paragould are moving forward with plans to revitalize the city’s old power plant building. It’s important to Jay Allen to save one of few remaining historical markers.
“We have neither of our railroad depots because they met the wrecking ball in the 70’s,” explains Allen. “Historically our city has been really quick to tear down everything that is old. And only value what is new. And so, kind of trying to challenge that mentality.”
Ownership of the building changed hands at least two to three times in the last decade. With plans to turn it into a restaurant and make other use of the space never coming to fruition.
Jay Allen and Dina Mason are now taking the lead in turning the former power plant into an event venue for weddings, concerts and more. Complete with a master garden, farmer’s market, food truck lot, and outdoor amphitheater.
“We think it needs to be something Paragould as a public could use to draw out of town people to come to visit as well as to move here,” says Mason.
She calls it a long-needed quality of life improvement and economic driver. Adding that “there’s lots of industry that is begging for employees. And we think that this development can enhance their opportunities to drive people to want to move here for those jobs.”
Renovations are expected to cost over two and a half million dollars. And leaders have taken up crowdfunding to advance ambitions.
“We’re hopeful that within the next six months, we can have commitments of three quarter of a million dollars to the project,” says Allen. “That we could start to see actual stabilization of the building within the next twelve months.”
With its brick veneers, and arched windows, restored to original glory.