A grand opening to highlight the new features and completed sections of the Creative Corridor’s Low Impact Development (LID) streetscape was held on September 14, as the revitalization of Little Rock’s Main Street continues to take shape, block by block.Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola joined Ron Curry, Region 6 administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Randy Young, executive director of the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, for the kickoff event. Professor Stephen Luoni of the University of Arkansas School of Architecture and director of the UA Community Design Center gave an informative presentation on the theories of Low Impact Development and creative place-making that underpin the project. The most recently completed improvements in the 500 block of Main Street are now open to the public. All of the pedestrian and environmentally friendly streetscapes in the 100, 200, 300 and 500 blocks of Main Street contain LID features such as bioswales, porous pavers, rain gardens, and other biodiverse vegetation. The grand opening also celebrated the elements of creative place-making that have occurred. Recent public art installations and the clustering of artistic and creative organizations on Main Street are transforming the Creative Corridor into a downtown hub that supports a great level of pedestrian activity, sociability, recreation and aesthetics.
“The progress on Main Street is a harbinger of the exciting development yet to come for this area,” says Stodola. “The Creative Corridor, once just a vision, has become a vibrant reality that has earned national accolades, brought together many of our City’s cultural institutions, and created these beautiful spaces that will continue to grow.”
The Creative Corridor is a mixed-use development project aimed at restoring the vitality of Main Street by creating an arts district and retrofitting a four-block segment of the street between President Clinton Avenue and 7th streets. It is estimated that more than $100 million in private and public investment is occurring or planned to help make this vision a reality.