A group urging voters to pass an initiative that would fund the multimillion-dollar renovation of Robinson Auditorium launched its campaign on the center's front steps Tuesday.
A special election is set for Dec. 10 for voters to decide whether to dedicate an existing 2 percent advertising and promotion tax toward up to $73.5 million in bonds for the auditorium renovation. The construction cost has been estimated at $60 million.
Members of the Restore Robinson group discussed the campaign and urged voters to support it at the afternoon launch news conference. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola asked a small crowd of supporters who gathered for the event to help explain to the community that the election hinges on whether to use an existing tax and not to add a new one
"We are not asking for any new taxes whatsoever," Stodola said. "This will be restored with bonds with no new taxes, which is indeed a happy thing for people like me."
Former Mayor Jim Dailey, who is a co-chair of the Restore Robinson group, recalled how he used to present keys to the city on the Robinson stage and noted the facility is now "way overdue" for an upgrade.
"In a way, this building has touched each of us," he said. "Practically every adult and child in Little Rock has performed, graduated or attended events at Robinson."
Robinson was completed in 1939 through funding from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program and now hosts nearly 200 events a year.
The Restore Robinson group says the building overhaul will make it easier to bring in bigger attractions.