Friday, November 28, 2014

Women's City Club window debate heads to Little Rock City Board

Posted By on Fri, Nov 28, 2014 at 7:56 AM

A WINDOW ON CITY POLITICS: Small stakes but big drama in City Board debate on $20,000 grant 12 years ago to preserve building facade.
  • A WINDOW ON CITY POLITICS: Small stakes but big drama in City Board debate on $20,000 grant 12 years ago to preserve building facade.

The Little Rock City Board will consider Tuesday whether to sell a historic easement back to the Junior League of Little Rock so it no longer encumbers renovation work on the historic Women's City Club building at Fourth and Scott.

Like academic politics, low stakes sometimes make for high drama in city politics. This one pits the potent Junior League against the potent Quapaw Quarter Association and other historic preservationists. The mayor has been on the side of preservation. An outgoing city director, Stacy Hurst, was involved in the Junior League's project to buy and preserve the building as a headquarters, event center and no, for incubation of other nonprofits.

A third-floor renovation, with some window replacement, ran afoul of a promise to maintain the historic facade when the city gave the League $20,000 for an "easement" 12 years ago. A resolution that spelled out a seeming understanding on how the work would proceed apparently didn't resolve anything. So comes the proposal for the League to buy the easement back, plus simple interest, for a total of about $34,000.

I've come into possession of a memo from the Junior League president urging a show of force at Tuesday's meeting to persuade the City Board to sell the easement back. What's an easement for, the other side will ask, if it's revocable 40 years before it is to expire on a change of heart? (P.S. — A betting man or woman who prefers short odds would always do well to bet on the Junior League.)

Following is the memo, which includes assurances that the League means no harm now or ever to the historic appearance of the building. It was written shortly after the City Board agenda meeting earlier this week:

Construction Update - November 25, 2014

Dear Friends~

I am calling on you all again to join me at the Little Rock City Board meeting next Tuesday, December 2 at 6:00 pm. The JLLR is on the agenda to purchase the easement back that was put in place in 2002. In exchange for $20,000 towards our capital campaign to purchase the building, we gave the City of Little Rock an historic façade easement, which is in place until 2053 unless we buy it back. Over the last 12 years, we have never encountered an issue until we began construction this summer. We have always made decisions regarding our home to keep with the historical appearance and sensitive to its original design. As we have worked towards the improvements to our building, parking lot, and renovation of our third floor according to the capital campaign plans, we have faced unexpected opposition in the process. It is in our best interest to purchase the easement back and keep our building maintenance decisions internal. We have support on the City Board, and hope that the buyback will be approved, but it will be important to show strong support from our membership at the meeting next week. I apologize for the late notice on a holiday week, but I wanted to confirm that this would be on the agenda before I rallied you to join me.

I attended the City Board of Directors meeting today and was surprised by the negative response by the City Board to the JLLR purchasing back the façade easement. The main concern voiced by the City Board is that if we buy it back, we will go back on the compromise in place and replace the windows on the 1st and 2nd floor of the building. We are NOT going to do that. The windows have been addressed and we have moved on. The JLLR Board of Directors voted to put an energy efficient film on the office and ballroom windows that do not alter the appearance. We are repairing any windows that have deteriorated, but that is the extent of work being done on those floors. The window inserts have been installed on the 3rd floor and are being finished over the next few weeks. The JLLR is committed to the compromise we have reached with the city. We are truly in the home stretch to finish the building renovations as planned to open the Nonprofit Center in the early spring.

Please join me next Tuesday, December 2, at 6 p.m. to show the Little Rock City Board of Directors and the Mayor how important this decision is to our organization. We saved our building when we purchased and renovated it in 2001-2002 and have invested over $2 million in improving our home. We will continue the same level of care and dedication to the revitalization of downtown Little Rock as we move forward with our exciting project. Thank you all for your support, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and I look forward to seeing you Tuesday night!


Lindsey Gray

Tags: , , ,


Speaking of...


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas conservatives react to same-sex marriage decision

    Jason Rapert, Mike Huckabee, the Meeks bros, Jerry Cox — beyond these extremists, it's hard to find statements from other Arkansas conservatives. That tell you something?
    • Jun 26, 2015
  • AHTD asks Metroplan to lift six-lane freeway cap

    The board of directors of Metroplan has informed the state highway department that it cannot act on the highway department's June 17 request to lift its six-lane freeway cap at the board's June 29 meeting. Consideration of the request should take four months, Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher wrote June 22 to highway department Director Scott Bennett.
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • Monticello preparing for KKK rally

    Drew County authorities are taking precautions, but also watching their words, about apparent plans for a Ku Klux Klan meeting Saturday.
    • Jul 22, 2015

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Facing closure, Wilson Elementary families deliver angry message to school leaders

    "Why do you guys not care about your community? You’re tearing it down, not building it up, especially in the black community … It’s just a simple question — do you care?" one mother asked the superintendent. "Ma’am, I do care deeply about this district, and I do believe wholeheartedly we are making a better district every day," Poore replied.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Care standards violated at state veterans home

    • this is really heartbreaking to hear about all these violations nd complains which are MAJOR…

    • on January 23, 2017
  • Re: Open line

    • Some facts that aren't alternative? A D.C. insider tells your Norma that The Genius' newly-opened…

    • on January 23, 2017
  • Re: State Treasurer staffer resigns after offensive comments

    • well shut mah mouth...milligan apparently does the right thing...that kid must have been REALLY expendable…

    • on January 23, 2017



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation