Historic homes saved from demolition in Little Rock

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Two historic homes in the MacArthur Park District in Little Rock will get a second chance to stay in the neighborhood.

The houses at Commerce Street and Park Lane have been around for decades, but over time they’ve started to fall apart.

The Little Rock Historic District Commission considered both for demolition.

Cleveland Thomas owns the property on Commerce Street and he said the home needs lots of repairs.

He wants to preserve it because it means a lot to him and he wants to have something for his grandchildren.

There are boarded up windows, tree limbs caved in the roof and a pile of burned rubbish in the front yard.

Thomas has owned the home for many years.

“I neglected the house and got married. Then I neglected the house a little more and money started to fall off and life got worse and worse,” Thomas said.

“I’ve seen that house myself and I’m an architect. I would be very surprised if any reputable contractor could make a reasonable claim of saving that house,” the commission said.

At Monday night’s meeting, the commission and the housing authority determined the home was unsafe and needed improvements.

Patricia Blick with the Quapaw Quarter Association spoke about preserving the home.

“We will do what we can to save a historic property. We do understand that sometimes that is beyond rehabilitation but we do not believe that’s the case in these properties,” Blick said.

After talks, the commission decided to give Thomas 30 days to get things in order.

“Wonderful, it’s a great structure and it’s a part of a historical area. I want it to remain there. It’s a structure,” Thomas said.

“I think that the house deserves a second chance and I think Mr. Thomas deserves a second chance,” Jim Rule said.

Thomas now has 30 days to prove he has the money to pay for repairs and get a contractor that will agree to work on the home.

He’ll also need approval from the city and a permit

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