LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - First lady Susan Hutchinson has unveiled the results of a nearly $817,000 overhaul of the Arkansas governor’s Georgian Colonial-style mansion.
The upgrades took about two years and were financed by a more than $1 million grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the nearly 70-year-old mansion “evokes a sense of pride in our state.”
“It’s a showplace where many significant people have visited, including Harry Truman and Gregory Peck,” he said, adding that although the mansion is one of the state’s youngest historic properties, “its significance belies its youth.”
Hutchinson said he and his wife wanted to ensure the mansion sitting on 8.5 acres (3.4 hectares) was well-maintained for generations to come.
Most of the renovations were structural, but there were several cosmetic improvements, such as a new hearth in the library, chandeliers and sconces in the Grand Hall, and new displays in the sculpture garden.
The electrical and plumbing systems have been replaced, as well as roof tiles, gutters and heating and air units showing signs of age and damage, Susan Hutchinson said.
The garden path was creating American with Disabilities Act compliance concerns, and parts of the mansion’s interior floors were cracking. Some staff members were injured from falling on the slick flooring. The carriage house’s attic and roof were in structural danger, too.
“There was urgency expressed for some of the needed repairs that involved code violations or that impacted public safety, so the council felt that it was important to address these so that the mansion, which receives visitors every day, could best represent the State of Arkansas,” said Melissa Whitfield, communications director for the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com
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