Last October, CORE, the Calico Rock Organization for Revitalization Efforts, bought a 1930s house on West First Street, and set out to save the house from ruin and help the neighborhood where it is located.
After obtaining a line of credit from the First National Bank of Izard County, and recruiting inmates at the North Central Unit state prison to help with the work, renovations began.
"Some of the floor joists were rotten, so we pulled all those out that were affected and replaced them with new ones, resulting in a solid, stable sub-floor that was ultimately covered with beautiful, new laminate flooring," Moser explained. "In every aspect of the restoration, we took our time to insure it was done right."
Besides the new roof and floor coverings, the home has new thermal pane windows, a new central heating and air conditioning system, new wiring, plumbing and light fixtures.
A laundry area was added at the rear of the house, and the kitchen has new cabinets, counter tops and appliances.
"This place will make someone a beautiful home, which they can be proud of," Moser said.
CORE certainly hopes so. It has spent about $55,000 on the project, and that is the listed sale price -- money the organization needs to recover its expenses.
"Our goal has always been to sell the house at a reasonable price to a low or middle income buyer who has not been able to get into a home of their own," said Rich Fischer, another CORE member. "The First National Bank of Izard County is prepared to discuss special mortgage financing to assist low to middle income buyers."
CORE started the project with the slogan, "Rebuilding the Community One House at a Time." It originally hoped to rehabilitate more homes, and encourage other organizations to get involved in creating housing in the community. But, after months of work, it may take a while for CORE, which has about 25 members, to decide its next project to better the community.
Back in January, surrounded by half finished renovation work, CORE member Charles Francis felt the undertaking would be worth all the effort.
"By stabilizing this house, we will help stabilize the neighborhood and eliminate a safety hazard. Because of the low price, we will be putting a nice house in the hands of a family who probably couldn't afford to buy a house otherwise," Francis said -- noting, since the CORE project began, another vacant home next door had been purchased and was being fixed-up by private owners.
"This project could not have been accomplished without the help of the inmate work crews supplied by the Arkansas Department of Correction," Moser said. "They do so much for the community and area, with this being just another example."
Steve Vinson of Calico Realty has listed the house. For information, call Vinson at 870-291-1813, or Ric Moser at 870-404-0356.