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story.lead_photo.caption Miller County Judge Cathy Hardin Harrison, right, presents a grant check to Mary Hicks of the Doddridge Community Development Council for $46,400 at the Miller County Courthouse in Texarkana, Ark. Also pictured above are Wanda Peek, George Goynes, back left, and Sam Bumgardner. Photo by Hunt Mercier / Texarkana Gazette.

DODDRIDGE, Ark. — The community of Doddridge has received a $46,400 Community Assistance Grant to be used for a new community center.

The funds, while not enough to complete the project, will be used to pay for the building's foundation, Doddridge Community Development Council Member Sam Bumgardner said.

"We're going to get started with this, get bids for the work and go from there," he said. Property for the new center, which will be located near the Volunteer Fire Department, was donated, as were the materials it will be built with. They come from the old vocational building at Bright Star School.

"They are sitting on a trailer waiting to be put up after the foundation goes in," he said.

The current community center was a feed store built in 1895 and is six feet from Highway 160, which has caused issues in the past, Mary Hicks said.

"It's been run over twice because it's so close to the road," she said. "For safety purposes, it will be good to have the new building, which will be about four times the size of what we have now and also be handicap accessible."

Plans show the building to be about 5,000 square feet with showers and a full kitchen. The current facility has only a sink, stove and microwave, she said.

The community center is a hub of activity, with events going on every weekend, Bumgardner said.

"We rent the building to the community all the time and have all kinds of dinners and events there," he said. It's booked every weekend in November, plus they are having a Trunk or Treat on Oct. 26. A chili cookoff will be held Nov. 16, along with a soup supper and a turkey shoot. They also plan a fish fry in May.

"We're going to need a couple of hundred thousand dollars to get these things done and hopefully we will get additional grants for all that," he said.

Community fundraisers are also held periodically to help pay the insurance and electric bills, Bumgardner added, stating they were grateful for the community support.

"Just little things like that puts it all together," he said. "We have three fundraisers every year, but we haven't had to turn the lights off yet."

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