Little Rock city leaders will hear details Tuesday night of a proposed $60 million improvement plan for the Arkansas Arts Center. The facility, which recently committed to remaining in Little Rock after speculation about a move to North Little Rock, is exploring options for making expansions and improvements.
Mayor Mark Stodola supports the plan being presented to the city’s Advertising and Promotions Commission because he says the Arts Center could lose accreditation without renovations to its theater and the rest of the facilities.
"Some of the things that need to be done haven’t been done since 1963," said Stodola. "The entire theater needs to be upgraded. The seats have been in there since 1974. The vault that hold all this priceless artwork is deficient."
According to the mayor, the plan involves a tax increase, but not one which will directly impact the average Little Rock citizen.
"There’s going to be a presentation made suggesting that this can be done by assessing two-cents [sales tax] on the hotels, on out of town visitors that are using our hotels," Stodola said.
The plan being presented would raise the city’s current hotel tax rate from 13 percent to 15 percent. The hotel tax would also require approval from the city’s Board of Directors, and eventually from the voters in a special bond election. MacArthur Park and MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History would benefit if passed.