DUMAS, Ark. – A facility, once a catalyst for change in Dumas, is now closed.
Onie Norman comes to the Delta Technology Education Center for research, to sharpen her skills and volunteer.
But Tuesday is her last day to take advantage of some of these assets.
“After today I fear that that front door will be locked until further notice,” Michael Jones said.
Michael Jones is one of the founding board members of DTEC.
It was established in 2007 after parts of Dumas were leveled by a tornado.
“Dumas is a resilient community,” he said.
Recognizing a need to diversify an agricultural community, DTEC was created.
One and a half million dollar renovations were done to the city-owned building to power on access to state of the art technology and partnerships with nearby colleges and hospitals.
Jones says donations came in with the understanding that the program would be self-sustaining.
“Unfortunately, one by one, the things that we had envisioned bringing income to DTEC, didn’t.”
DTEC lost a quarter-million dollar grant from Workforce Service 2 years ago.
Since then, the 8,000 dollar monthly bill was a squeeze.
The City of Dumas stepped up for more than a year providing 5,000 dollars a month, until it couldn’t afford it any longer.
“We were not able to sustain and I have to tell you it’s very regrettable,” Jones said.
But Norman isn’t taking no for an answer.
She’s taking her passion outside this computer lab to the streets, gathering signatures on this petition to keep DTEC open.
“It’s just in my spirit that I want to help my community,” she said.
Since the building is city-owned some of the programs like adult education and workforce solutions that rent space in the building are expected to stay open.
We’re told the mayor is working with them to find a sustainable solution.