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story.lead_photo.caption The Park Hill Fire Station in North Little Rock. - Photo by Staton Breidenthal

A $50,000 Arkansas Historic Preservation Program grant is intended to help save Park Hill's historic fire station building in North Little Rock, but won't be enough by itself to keep the building's usefulness as a city fire station, Mayor Joe Smith told City Council members Monday evening.

The North Little Rock City Council approved authorizing acceptance of the state grant and the use of matching funds of an additional $50,000 in city funding. Council members also approved a separate resolution to waive formal bidding to hire Harness Roofing Inc. of Mabelvale to do the specialized repairs needed to the Spanish-style, red tile roofing.

The tiles must be removed by hand, then replaced with the same tiles, if possible, or with new specialty tiles. The roofing contract also allows for the city to fund an additional $125,952 if more than 100 new tiles are needed.

Both resolutions passed 7-0. Council member Ron Harris was absent.

The building at 3417 Magnolia St. has been North Little Rock's Fire Station No. 5 to cover the Park Hill neighborhood area off of John F. Kennedy Boulevard, but closed about nine months ago because of roof damage and other structural concerns.

Asked if the Fire Department would return once the roof repair is completed, Smith said the fire station isn't habitable because of other issues.

"My goal right now is to save the building," Smith said.

He added that he has had "some conversations" about what the best use for the building might be in the future.

The Park Hill Fire Station and Water Company Complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, city History Commission Executive Director Sandra Taylor-Smith said last week. The North Little Rock Neighborhood Services Department is now housed in the Park Hill Water Company building at 3427 Magnolia St., adjacent to the fire station.

The Park Hill Fire Department was built in 1938 as part of the Works Progress Administration when Park Hill was an unincorporated area and had its own fire and water companies for insurance purposes. North Little Rock annexed Park Hill in 1946.

Council member Debi Ross said during Monday's meeting that Park Hill residents want to retain their neighborhood fire station. Smith said estimates he's received to return the building to a working fire station "are pretty high."

The city is to build a fire station on Pike Avenue off Camp Robinson Road to replace Station No. 6 in the Levy area, which Smith said will be close enough to cover the Park Hill area as well.

"My plan, right now, is I'm prepared to move Station 5 to Station 6," Smith said. "We've got to get the roof on first. We'll have some big decisions to make next year."

Metro on 08/13/2019

Print Headline: North Little Rock backs grant, match to repair '38 fire station

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