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City looks to repair old Fulbright home in Arkansas

January 17, 2018

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) — A city in northwest Arkansas is looking to potentially repair the former home of Sen. J. William Fulbright, the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and namesake of a scholarship program for international studies.

Springdale’s City Council took a look Tuesday at a $600,000 renovation proposal for the Rabbit Foot Lodge. The proposal was created by Clements & Associates Architecture of North Little Rock, a historical preservation firm, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .

The lodge was home to Fulbright and his family from 1934 to 1946 while he was president of the University of Arkansas. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

City officials purchased the lodge and surrounding acreage in 2015 for more than $1 million.

Multiple logs in the house have water damage and need replacing, said Bill Mock, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. The filling between the logs also needs replacing. Those repairs would make up the first of four phases in the proposed project, and will be the costliest at nearly $220,000, according to Mayor Doug Sprouse.

“This is a specialized kind of work,” Sprouse said.

The other 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 work split in four phases may raise the project’s cost to $670,000.

The city is currently applying for Historic Preservation Grants from the National Park Service, which could range from $60,000 to $100,000, Sprouse said.

Fulbright represented Arkansas in Congress for over three decades before he died in 1995.

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Information from: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.nwaonline.com

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