Former President Bill Clinton promised renovation of the former Rock Island railroad bridge by his library would begin in 2010. He told a crowd of 1,000 gathered in a tent on the grounds of his library for the center’s fifth anniversay — as he’d told us in an interview last week — that it would be a dramatic design that would make it a symbol for the area. (Here’s a link to some poor quality video by me that mentions design.)

Lacking: Details on financing. Or make that: Money is still lacking.

Jordan Johnson, spokesman for the Clinton Foundation, said afterward that firm commitments are still lacking for the roughly $10.5 million in costs, despite an award of $30,000 yesterday by the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission to “fill a gap” in funding.

Roughly, about $7.5 million is committed from the city ($1 million); state ($2.5 million); foundation ($4 million). Johnson said he hoped there’d be news “soon” on decisions from other private funding sources to pay the rest. (I got the numbers wrong on this originally, because Johnson added some private money not yet in hand.)


I’m drawing a conclusion that nearly firm commitments are in place for the full amount so that construction can begin. But that is an assumption. And five years have passed without construction progress, though there has been work on design.

Gerard Matthews will have more on the speech shortly. It was classic Clinton — brimful of ideas on current and future politics with an exhortation to change the way our institutions have done business, particularly in health care and climate control measures.

He was joking — preparatory to making a point — when he began one tangent with a mythical move to repeal the 22nd Amendment to run for a third term as president. Those applauding the line were not joking, I’m pretty certain.