SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFTA) — Springdale’s Recreation Center is still going through extensive repairs more than half a year after its initial purchase. The city’s mayor said the building will be a “bargain” once its completely finished.
“The building’s not perfect,” Mayor Doug Sprouse said. “It’s not up to the standard that we would want for a municipal building, for a public building, but we’re getting there.”
The city purchased the former All-Star Sports Arena in December 2018 for $4.1 million. With much more work needed to be done even after extensive repairs, more than $1 million in additional money is needed to get it into tip-top shape. Sprouse said taxpayers won’t pay any extra money for additional repairs.
Sprouse said new slab, a a costly HVAC system, LED lighting and painting are all needed for the upgrades. He said the HVAC will require up to $1 million alone.
“We’ll do this as we can do it within our existing budgets or our CIP—our capital improvement program,” Sprouse said.
The building is significantly larger than the previous recreation center, which had only two basketball courts. The new facility has six, and the space is much larger. An expanded area was needed to match Springdale’s growth, Sprouse said.
When the building was privately owned, competitive sports practices and tournaments were hosted inside. Some community members said they’re disappointed they have to look elsewhere for that.
“There is a huge void in NWA for sports facilities,” said Liz Wilhelm, who spent time with a team that competed in the building, in a Facebook message. “I am thankful that the space is being used and is not sitting empty. I would encourage the city of Springdale to increase revenue by working with athletic/sports community to provide practice and tournament space.”
Sprouse said the new purpose of the building is to serve city residents and not travel teams.
“Our main priority is going to be the rec leagues for the residents of Springdale,” Sprouse said. “We’ll always be open to hosting tournaments and those kinds of things, but they won’t be our priority.”
Robert Ziegler, 91, said he works out at the rec center five times a week. He said he’s happy to see a bigger space even though it’s still a year or two away from completion.
“I like to keep in shape,” Ziegler said. “This helps me. When I use these machines, I feel like I’ve done something.”