T’s not crossed on home for girls: Old LR building’s rehab up for vote
Published, July 7, 2013 in Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Claudia Lauer and Chad Day
An excerpt from published article
On a visionary’s blueprints, an abandoned Little Rock high-rise transforms easily into a home for nearly 100 pregnant teens.
Julius James Larry III, a 63 year-old casket company owner from Houston, says the planned Ida B. Wells Home for Pregnant Girls is a calling from God that he received when diagnosed with cancer three years ago.
But community resistance critical state officials and the felony background of Larry, who is promoting the project, make for a complicated proposal that is to go before the Little Rock Planning Commission on Thursday.
Residents near the proposed site are concerned about whether Larry and his partners can follow through on their promise to rehabilitate the former Job Corps building on Vance Street, an eyesore full of asbestos and mold that has been vacant more than five years.
Arkansas Department of Human Services officials say Larry’s involvement and felony theft conviction jeopardize the part of the plan that calls for the state to allow – and pay a per day rate for – teens in foster care to live in the girls home.
The state also isn’t sold on how the home would operate.