SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In this week’s ‘You Ask, We Investigate’ report, KNWA’s Katelynn Zoellner found out what the City of Springdale plans to do with the Rabbit Foot Lodge.
The city acquired Rabbit Foot Lodge in 2014 when it purchased 40 acres of land to expand J.B. Hunt Park.
“It’s a pretty significant structure that we want to be sure we take good care of,” said Doug Sprouse, Mayor of the City of Springdale. “We maintain around the building. We are in and out of the building a lot, our park staff is. It’s fine but it does need work.”
Mayor Sprouse said the city has not had the needed funding to pay for repairs to the building.
“We have a lot of parks and a lot of priorities now, but we did have a plan,” he said. “We engaged the architect a few years ago and came up with a plan. We had a plan to do everything and it was just too much money.”
The renovation will happen in four phases:
Phase 1: Roofing Replacement – $446,887
Phase 2: Exterior Carpentry and Log Repair – $571,627
Phase 3: Porch Reconstruction – $675,489
Phase 4: ADA Accessibility & Landscaping – $133,178
Mayor Sprouse said replacing the roof will be the first item of business.
“Everything that we would want to do to it is too big of a bite right now, so we thought we should begin with the highest priority to make sure that we protect the building,” he said.
The city applied for an $80,000 Arkansas Historic Preservation Grant to help complete phase one. The remaining funds to complete phase one would either come out of park money or a designated park improvement fund in the city’s CIP budget.
Remaining phases would be completed as funds become available through a combination of additional grants, private donations, and city money.
“We are optimistic about that,” Sprouse said. “We do not know for sure, but we do find out this month. And, if we are successful with that grant, we will begin work on phase one probably in the matter of weeks.”
The Rabbit Foot Lodge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. It was once owned by longtime Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright.
If there is something in your community that you want to know more about, we want to investigate it. You can send your questions to Katelynn at KZoellner@KNWA.com.