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story.lead_photo.caption FILE PHOTO ANTHONY REYES Rabbit Foot Lodge is off Silent Grove Road in Springdale. The lodge was home to Sen. J. William Fulbright and his family from 1934 to 1946.

SPRINGDALE -- A plan might make the former home of Sen. J. William Fulbright habitable again.

Springdale's City Council took an initial look at a proposal to repair Rabbit Foot Lodge. City officials purchased the lodge and more than 40 acres around it in 2015, paying $1,050,000, and added the land to the area of J.B. Hunt Park.

Other action

Springdale’s City Council forwarded proposal for vote at the council’s Jan. 23 meeting.

• A one-time $15,000 payment to Ozark Regional Transit to keep the four Springdale routes of the public transit authority in operation until Feb. 15. The council and city staff then will study ORT’s full request for an additional $122,908 in addition to the $265,000 budgeted for 2018.

• The $526,620 purchase and outfitting of 12 Ford Explorers for the Springdale Police Department. Six vehicles would be ordered immediately with six more in July to replace 10-year-old vehicles.

• An additional $46,825 to the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History to complete the renovation of the 1871 Shiloh Meeting Hall. The renovation should be completed within 90 days and the opening planned for June. The city’s total cost to the project would be $546,825.

• Paying $105,000 to buy three trucks, a turf dresser, two utility vehicles and two mower decks for the Parks and Recreation Department.

Source: Staff report

Clements & Associates Architecture of North Little Rock, A historical preservation firm has proposed a renovation at $602,000, although the work could be contracted in four phases, which would raise the cost to $670,000 Mayor Doug Sprouse said. The council met Tuesday night to consider items to forward for vote by the council at its Jan. 22 meeting.

A number of logs in the house have water damage and rot and need to be replaced, said Bill Mock, the director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department. The chinking between the logs also needs to be replaced. The repairs would make up the first phase of preservation, which also would be the costliest at $219,908, according to Sprouse.

"This is a specialized kind of work," Sprouse said. "You're not going to get a lot of 'rechinkers' bidding on it."

Future construction phases would focus on roofing, rebuilding the south porch and a rock sidewalk built by Fulbright and providing access with compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Sprouse said the city currently holds the amount for the total project, but the council delayed a decision while the city applies for Historic Preservation Grants from the National Park Service, which could range from $60,000 to $100,000, and other sources. The city could reapply for the federal grant each year.

The Beaver Watershed Alliance and the city have agreed to a month-to-month lease for $1,000 a month, Sprouse said. The city could use the lodge for other purposes at any time, he said.

Dr. and Mrs. Charles F. Perkins built the lodge as their home in 1908, with all material coming from the property. Perkins was Springdale's first surgeon. Fulbright bought the lodge in 1934 and lived there with his family during his tenure as the president of the University of Arkansas (1939 to 1941). The lodge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

City Council members also got the first look at a proposed renovation to the Randall Tyson Recreational Complex that would move forward if the $200 million bond issue is approved by voters Feb. 13. The bonds would provide $19.4 million for construction in parks.

Sprouse said $5 million of that would be spent to improve the Tyson Complex, which was built in the late 1980s. "It's old. It's tired," he said. "But it's still one of our most visible parks."

The plans presented by Brian Moore of Engineering Services in Springdale include a splash pad, dog park, trails, landscaping along Watson Avenue and increased parking for the Miracle League Park. Less visible work would be done to restrooms, concession stands, lighting and fencing, and the park would be updated for ADA compliance.

The plans are conceptual and could be changed, Moore said. Council members requested the designers reconsider parking around the basketball courts, which will be moved to the east side of the park.

Four new adult softball fields to be built at Shaw park will allow for fields at Tyson to be converted to multi-use baseball fields, Sprouse said.

The city leases the land for the park from the Tyson family, and the family has approved the changes, Sprouse said.

NW News on 01/17/2018

Print Headline: Council hears report on Rabbit Foot Lodge repair

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