- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Little Rock will submit a proposal next week to stop the Arkansas Arts Center from moving out of the city and into North Little Rock.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (https://bit.ly/1ALSJT3 ) that discussions between the Arts Center Foundation and North Little Rock became public in January. The foundation had been in talks with North Little Rock officials about the possibility of moving to a new building near the river, funded by a portion of a possible sales tax increase.

Little Rock currently owns the art center’s building, but the foundation owns and oversees the artwork.

Mayor Mark Stodola said he’d work to keep the center in the city. The pitch being formulated will include four possible new locations in Little Rock for the center, all of which would require additional taxpayer funding.

Voters would have to approve any increase during a special election.

Several Little Rock board of directors members expressed concern about a $150,000 increase in funding for the center during the last budget cycle, which might make them reluctant to approve a proposal that gives the center even more money. The city paid $550,000 for maintenance of the city-owned building for 2015.

Arts foundation chairman Bobby Tucker said they will cover the costs to poll Little Rock voters about a possible tax increase. Tucker stressed that the foundation’s current plans to undertake a new building only involve the use of public funds.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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