A crew from Old School Masonry in Searcy began work early Monday morning on Irby’s Dance Studio, 1032 Front St., tuck-pointing mortar between the bricks on the north wall.

The process involves scratching out the mortar that is loose and putting new mortar between the bricks.

"More building owners are taking an interest to see their properties are preserved," said George Covington Sr., chairman of the Downtown Partnership and a member of the Historic District Commission. "This can only be a good thing."

This crew has been working on several projects downtown, including First Security Bank, Crossman Printing and the former Frameworks shop, owned by Covington.

The crew will move next to the old Smith Ford building, also on Front Street, job foreman Eric Burkett said.

Once renovated, the building is slated to become a special events center, according to Kim Williams, director of the Downtown Partnership.

"Property owners are being very proactive," Covington said. "The old buildings do crack. If there’s a crack, we’re trying to fix it."

(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at becky.harris@thecabin.net and 505-1234.)