WOMAN'S CITY CLUB: The debate is over windows -- replacements or repairs?

The Little Rock City Board of Directors is scheduled to take up Tuesday night a request from the Junior League of Little Rock to change windows on its headquarters, the historic Woman’s City Club building at 4th and Scott Streets.

The Junior League got a $20,000 grant from the city to preserve the facade of the building. In return, it agreed to a 50-year historic easement that precluded any changes in the exterior of the building without permission of the city. Now it wants the change for 18 windows as part of a remodeling project to the third floor.

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The city staff, Arkansas Historic Preservation and Mayor Mark Stodola have expressed opposition to the change.

When the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Chelsea Boozer reported on the proposal last week, League president Lindsey Gray was quoted as saying the league would look into repair or use of storm windows rather than replacement of windows deemed historic. The replacement is an energy efficiency effort.

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Changing the windows could cause the building to lose its place on the National Register of Historic Places, but that’s an honorary status.

A lobbying effort apparently is underway in behalf of the replacement option. The lobbying attempts to mobilize Junior League members, sustainers (the name for “retired” members) and others to pack the board’s chamber Tuesday night in support of the replacement option. Numbers count. City Director Stacy Hurst, who represents a neighborhood long a center of League membership, has told supporters she’ll vote with the crowd Tuesday. I’d expect the Junior League to beat the Historic Preservation lobby in turnout.

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