Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey today named the members of a task force that will study the long-term use of Curran Hall, which currently houses a visitors center operated by the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The task force will be comprised of Annie Abrams, community leader; John P. Gill, chair of the Little Rock Visitor Center Foundation board; Mollie Irvin, community leader; Bob Lanford, member of the Little Rock Visitor Center Foundation board; Clarice Miller, community leader; Carolyn Newbern, chair of the Little Rock Historic District Commission and a Master Gardener; Cheri Nichols, historic preservation expert; Joe David Rice, tourism director for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism; Mary Beth Ringgold, chair of the Advertising and Promotion Commission; Dr. Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System; Sharon Welch-Blair, Downtown Neighborhood Association; Roger Williams, executive director of the Quapaw Quarter Association; Stacy Williams, member of the MacArthur Military History Museum Commission; and Bill Worthen, executive director of Historic Arkansas Museum.
Curran Hall has been the subject of some controversy recently, following a proposal to lease part of the building to the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. That upset some members of a private foundation that raised over $1 million to restore the historic building, which was built in 1842.
Now Curran Hall faces financial challenges to remain open to the public.
“People have very strong feelings about Curran Hall," Dailey said in a press release. "We all want to do what is right for that wonderful historic building, as well as for the people who donated money to restore it. At the same time, it appears that the current function should be examined and other possible options in conjunction with a visitor center be explored."
The Task Force will meet weekly beginning sometime within the next two weeks, and Dailey said its work "should be concluded in the next 30 to 45 days."