On November 30, 1936, Little Rock Mayor R. E. Overman asked the City Council to call a special election for January 1937 for approval of the issuance of bonds for a municipal auditorium. Prior to asking the aldermen to call the election, the mayor had been in Washington DC to visit with Public Works Administration (PWA) officials. The mayor was assured that the auditorium project would be approved for federal funds.
While the mayor was meeting with federal officials, architects Eugene Stern, George Wittenberg and Lawson Delony were meeting with local PWA officials in Little Rock. They were reviewing the plans for the funding request. Though there were still a few refinements to be completed in the documents, the local officials seemed satisfied. With these assurances in hand, Mayor Overman moved forward with putting the request before the City Council.
Though there were many things discussed at length during the November 30 City Council meeting, there was virtually no conversation regarding the structure before the 15-0 vote by the City Council to refer the auditorium bonds to the voters. There were three different bond programs to be put before the voters in January 1937: a municipal auditorium, expansion of the public library and creation of a park for African Americans.
The bonds for the auditorium would be $468,000 in general obligation bonds which would be paid off between 1940 and 1971. This was toward a total cost of $760,000 for the entire project. At the time of the initial auditorium application in 1935, the mayor had noted that if the PWA failed to approve funding for the entire project, it could be submitted to the voters for the issuance of municipal bonds. This was ultimately the course of action that would come to pass. The PWA grant would only cover a portion of the project. The government did agree it would purchase the financing bonds if no other entity did.
The election would be held on January 26, 1937.