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Terry Mansion damage raises concerns for Little Rock community members

"We know that based on the assessments by preservation architect, Tommy Jamison, there's probably about $1.2 million worth of work that needs to take place."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — The Terry Mansion is slowly falling a part in the MacArthur Park Historic District. It's raising some concerns from downtown Little Rock residents after it was noticed that the chimney was damaged.

The building previously served as a community arts center after it was given to the city by the Terry family decades ago. According to its deed, the gifting of the center came with the promise that it would always be used for educational purposes.

Kathy Wells has written about the damage to both the city mayor and city directors on behalf of the Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods. 

"You have this historic treasure of our community heritage in your trust and you have let us down," said Wells. "You have not maintained the Terry Mansion on 7th Street. You have so badly neglected it that the brick chimney is visibly crumbling to pieces."

She said she has asked city leaders if original endowment funding for the structure is accounted for. 

Yellow tape is found around the structure on the side of the home, near the cracked chimney. 

"This is part of my family heritage. My grandmother is recognized for her work with the women's committee that fought back against the segregation in the 1957 Central High crisis," said Wells. "If you go to the sun room of the Terry Mansion, the women's names are etched on the glass panels." 

The Terry Mansion stopped operating as an arts center after it closed more than a decade ago, according to records from the Quapaw Quarter Association. 

Patricia Blick, with the association, still has a lot of questions about the future of the structure. Is it going to revert back to the family and then be sold to a private individual or private organization? 

"We know that based on the assessments by preservation architect, Tommy Jamison, there's probably about $1.2 million worth of work that needs to take place," said Blick.

In a statement, Little Rock city manager, Bruce Moore said: 

The city is developing a plan to stabilize the chimney and will be moving forward as soon as possible. 

The city is also working with the Terry family and the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts to develop a long term plan for the future of the facility. 

For Wells, it's not as detailed as what she asked for, but she's glad there's some effort for the future of the historic building.

"I would say about time. Remember, this has been neglect for the years. And there's just no excuse for it," said Wells.