LITTLE ROCK, AR - The City of Little Rock and the Downtown Little Rock Partnership unveiled plans Wednesday for a revitalized Main Street between 3rd and 6th Street.
The architectural concept calls for a "creative corridor" that would bring the arts downtown.
The event was hosted at the Arkansas Repertory Theater at 6th and Main. The renderings call for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Little Rock Film Festival to move to Main Street in the future to create the arts district.
A $150,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts funded the design concept created by Stephen Luoni and Marlon Blackwell with the University of Arkansas Architecture Department.
"There are some things that could be done right now," Luoni says. "For instance, the gateways, the pedestrian promenade, that could happen within a few years."
The goal is to bring the city's arts into one location, change and expand right pedestrian right of ways with more green space, but always allowing vehicle traffic to remain.
"We don't want to go back to the period of pedestrian malls on Main Street from the 1980's," Luoni says. "That concept doesn't work."
Much of the concept also focuses on the use of lighting at night to create an atmosphere that makes Main Street an attractive destination 24 hours a day.
"This is the perfect time to do this," Luoni says. "These projects have been done successfully all over cities, midsize cities as well as large cities in the U.S."
Little Rock mayor Mark Stodola fielded questions after the presentation from about 100 business and community members with an interest in the project. Stodola says there's no strict timeline the city has to follow.
"The public sector has helped with grants to get the vision started, but there will need to be substantial investment from the private sector," Stodola says. "We're already seeing that with $60 million worth of construction happening now on Main Street."