Logan County Judge Ray Gack and his wife Annette have been working for several weeks to transform a vacant county-owned building into a shelter for children awaiting adoption by a foster family.
The building is located on East Academy Street in Paris, adjacent to the Gattis-Logan County Library. It formerly housed the Arkansas Health Department Unit in Paris, which is now located next to Roller Funeral Home in Paris. The building, which had been vacant since 2002, has previously been used by the county for storage.
“This is going to be kind of like a staging area for those kids,” Gack said last week. “It’s a lot better than letting them sleep in cars.”
Gack said the building will house two bedrooms, a laundry room, a playroom, a visitation room and a storage room. Gack said he hopes to have the facility ready in about 30 days.
“We’re trying to get it ready for use as soon as possible,” Gack said. “The building was mostly in good shape. We did have to replace a lot of plumbing that had frozen and broke. It’s been a challenge but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve got someone coming in to put on some vinyl siding on the outside. That’s got to be done.”
Gack said he heard about the need for this type of building during a meeting held by Mercy Clinic in Paris.
“I attended a meeting and they were talking about a need to come up with something like this,” Gack said. “I told them I have the perfect place and told them about this building. Someone else will run it, the county won’t. Were just getting it ready and providing it to them.”
Gack said work on the building is costing the county very little money. He and his wife are giving their time and others are donating items, like the washer and dryer which was donated by County Sheriff Boyd Hicks.
“We’re not going to have a lot invested in this,” Gack said. “My wife and I are doing the labor.”