Citizens of the Town of Dearing now have a new place to gather in the community after the town renovated a historic building into a community center.
On Feb. 7, the Town of Dearing officially opened and dedicated the community center with a reception where citizens viewed the renovated interior and parking lot.
The building, which sits just past the pool hall, was once the Dearing Super Market built by Ray Adams and opened in 1953. The business continued to operate until 1989. The building then housed a church before the town purchased the building and the former Rock House service station building, which had to be demolished due to its condition. The parking lot was built in its place.
“We just praise the Lord that this building is still here, and it will be used not only now, but for years and years,” said Richard Adams. “I had a lot of happy times here.”
Adams told the audience about his favorite memory of the store during his time working there. The snowstorm in February 1973 caused many people to have no way of leaving their home and no food. The Adams family opened the Dearing Super Market, and Adams said he would never forget how much business they did that day, saying he never left the register the entire day. He also recalled people walking up Neals Mill Road to come to the store.
Kelley said the building project began because the town needed another meeting facility since City Hall wasn’t big enough for some of the meetings the town was having and the gym wasn’t suitable for some events. He added that a few months after purchasing the building, the Board of Elections informed the town that they would have to move the voting out of the gym.
The reception included food from Pea Ridge BBQ and Deep South Grill and a demonstration of the new voting machines which will debut with the Democratic Primary in March.
“We have been working on this building for probably two years,” said Dearing Mayor Sean Kelley. “We had the building finished in about a year, and it took us another nine months to get the parking handled.”
During the process of renovations, three Boy Scouts from Troop 310 contributed as part of their process to become Eagle Scouts. Alex Rimmer, Jim Zinkhan and Phillip Bowman completed various projects for their Eagle Scout rank.
Rimmer worked on the doors to the building, the grading on the parking lot and a piece that ultimately didn’t make it into the final renovation because of construction changes. Zinkhan did doors as well as the closing in of the back room and clearing trees from behind and adjacent to the building. Bowman built new tables and trash can containments at the town park, and he and his father, who has since passed, were supposed to put the flag pole at the community center, and Kelley said they are working on a solution for the situation.
The community center is available for rent by contacting Dearing City Hall, and a free yoga class, provided by the town and with a certified instructor, is offered every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 am.