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Board set to review funding for resource center's revamp

by Joseph Flaherty | June 9, 2021 at 3:20 a.m.

City staff members have asked members of the Little Rock Board of Directors to fund an initial phase of renovations to the Willie L. Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center estimated at $335,218.

The center is at 3805 W. 12th St.

Two resolutions on the board's agenda for a June 15 meeting would authorize the city manager to enter into agreements with contractors to pursue the renovation work.

One resolution would allow the city to contract with the firm Wittenberg, Delony and Davidson Architects for a maximum of nearly $180,000 for design services.

The second resolution would approve a contract up to about $156,000 for pre-construction and construction management services provided by the firm East Harding Construction.

Both are city firms.

During a board meeting Tuesday to set next week's agenda, at-large City Director Antwan Phillips asked whether the city was going to work with certain companies on the project in light of efforts to increase its spending partnerships with minority-led businesses.

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said East Harding historically and currently "does a great job in working with minority and women contractors in their projects, so we expect that to be a part of the process."

Derrick Rainey, the city's small business development coordinator, told board members that the project would include minor renovations to the center's first and second floors, such as new carpeting and painting.

Rainey said the reception area would be remodeled and a display case honoring Hinton, for whom the center is named, installed closer to the front. Hinton was a former city director who died in 2007.

The center's auditorium also would undergo renovations and new furniture would be added to some classrooms, he said.

In a later phase of the project, the basement will be brought up to code and remodeled with light construction work, Rainey said.

Asked by City Director Doris Wright of Ward 6 about the source of the funding for the two agenda items authorizing the renovations, City Manager Bruce Moore said the money would come from the city's general fund.

According to memos from the city manager's office included with meeting materials, cost estimates for phase two of the project have not been confirmed, which indicates the $335,218 combined purchase authorized in the two resolutions would encompass work only during phase one.

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