ANC handing Moore center over to county

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A familiar civic landmark in Blytheville may soon be getting a facelift, thanks to a partnership between Arkansas Northeastern College and Mississippi County.

The Moore Center on Fifth and Chickasawba, which is currently out of use, could be headed for renovation.

According to Mississippi County Judge Randy Carney, ANC is in the process of deeding the building over to the county at no charge. Long the location for early voting, the Moore Center was unusable this year because of its deteriorating condition, and the county has accepted the gift of the building's ownership from the college with plans to restore it.

Carney said the building has to pretty much be gutted, and the project could cost an estimated $300,000, which he believes the county will be able to get in GIF, or discretionary funds, from Sen. David Burnett. Plans for the building include a new and state-of-the-art center for voting, as well as four offices -- one for the election commission, one for election coordinator Johnny Buchanan and two which will serve as complementary office space for employees of potential industrial prospects who are researching bringing their business into the area.

"We want this to be a real showplace," said Carney, who added that the process is only in the very earliest of planning phases. "A first-class voting facility with ample parking would be something for our citizens to be proud of. Taking an old building in horrific shape and making it something that Blytheville and the whole county can use and enjoy will be something positive for us."

Carney added that the project would be open to private donations and even naming the facility in honor of a donor, but are hoping to pursue the possibility of GIF funds and grant money to make the project happen, as the county itself does not intend to fund it.