ArmoryMonticello Mayor Zack Tucker on Tuesday named the members of a special taskforce to repurpose the the former National Guard Armory in Monticello.

Members of the 5-member task force are Chairman Jack Lassiter, a community at-large member; Joe Britton, a community at-large member; Nita McDaniel, Monticello Economic Development Commission; John Davis, Monticello Parks Committee; and Joe Meeks, a Monticello alderman.

The taskforce will provide recommendations for the use of the facility.

“This is a great opportunity for our community,” stated Mayor Tucker. “In the last two years the National Guard has closed nine armories. Cities have repurposed them for community centers, police stations, emergency operation centers, and even classroom space for a local college. We have several needs in our city, we just need to decide how best we can use the facility.”

The Arkansas National Guard announced in January that it was closing the readiness centers in Monticello and Magnolia.

The decision was made by Gov. Asa Hutchinson after receiving feedback from community leaders and the Arkansas Military Department. The Guard’s plan is based on an effort to reduce operating and maintenance costs and to restructure and rebalance the forces in Arkansas, according to the release. The move will reduce the total number of readiness centers in the state to 53.

The Guard estimates an annual savings of more than $81,000 by returning the Magnolia and Monticello facilities, based on 2015 armory maintenance and utility figures.

After receiving feedback from Monticello Mayor Zack Tucker and Drew County Judge Robert Akin, Monticello’s readiness center was transferred back to the city.

Tucker announced in late May his plans to appoint a special taskforce to make recommendations on how the facility should be used. He accepted applications for appointment to the advisory group in June and July.