2/10/08

Firefighter union's proper use of union-dues

Van Buren (AR) firefighters are looking to enhance the entrance to the downtown area while gaining a meeting place for members of the local union. About six months ago, members of the International Association of Firefighters Van Buren Professional Firefighters Local 4078 purchased the former Elmer's Cabinet Shop at 12 Fayetteville Road.

The building had become an eyesore with its roof caving in, according to Battalion Chief Tim Arnold. "We want to be community oriented," Arnold said. "And, this will help in the effort to revitalize downtown." Firefighters used their union dues to purchase the former cabinet show, but are putting their sweat into redoing the building to be used for union meetings, Christmas parties, banquets and retirement parties.

"The union currently holds its monthly meetings at fire station No. 2," Arnold said. "We have met at local restaurants and even rented the local VFW hall a couple of times. Our parties have been held at local schools."

Now, every Monday, the firefighters will lend their construction expertise to renovating a building which has a roof that is collapsing. First, firefighters are tearing down a warehouse to the north of the main building.

"It was in such bad shape that it could not be repaired," Arnold said. "It was not part of the original structure and was falling in."

The bricks will be cleaned and Fire Chief Jerry McAdoo will use them to brick the front of the remaining building.

Arnold noted that the walls of the building are the only sound part of the structure.

"Basically, it will have to be torn down and rebuilt," he said. "It will take a lot of work on our part, but hopefully in a short period of time we will have it looking nice."

The remodeled 2,000-square-foot structure will have a large meeting room with kitchen and up-to-date restrooms. A mural also is planned for the side of the building which faces the depot park.

Firefighters will hold some fundraisers for the renovation and donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 1133, Van Buren, AR 72956.

(pressargus.com)

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