by Max Brantley
The Downtown Little Rock Partnership is studying ways to revitalize Main Street (our hint: acres of new parking lots do not a revitalized Main Street make). To that end, it has created an on-line survey where people can evaluate downtown and contribute ideas, through Feb. 1.
Reach the survey at this link. It's long. It would appear to be set so that it may be voted only once.
Some more info on the work:
Property owners, residents, employers, employees, clients, patrons, and other stakeholders interested in downtown Little Rock’s Main Street have an opportunity to participate in defining the next phase of downtown revitalization.
A Main Street Survey has been released by a group working as a subcommittee of a new Main Street Revitalization Task Force headed by the Downtown Little Rock Partnership (DLRP). The survey can be accessed online before February 1 by clicking on the link: www.surveymonkey.com/s/DLRP-MainStreet.
“We especially need to hear directly from the people who are downtown on a daily basis, so they can share their thoughts and concerns about Main Street and what we need to do to make it a more enjoyable place to live and work,” said Anne Laidlaw, chair for the Marketing Survey subcommittee of the Main Street Revitalization Task Force and director of Arkansas Building Authority. Assisting Laidlaw are Stephanie Streett, Clinton Foundation; Mike McCurdy, Arkansas Repertory Theatre; and Doug Meyer, Bennett’s Military Supplies.
The Downtown Little Rock Partnership (DLRP) Board of Directors determined at an August mini retreat that one of the key priorities of the Partnership in 2010 is a strong focus on Main Street revitalization. Subsequently, the Board created a Main Street Revitalization Committee under the chairmanship of Executive Committee member Bob East of East Harding. Simultaneously, Mayor Mark Stodola invited the Mayors' Institute on City Design to Little Rock to develop an overview plan for Main Street.
As a result of these efforts, a Main Street Revitalization Task Force has been created at the request of the mayor to explore and develop the Institute's vision for Main Street. The DLRP's Main Street Revitalization Committee will guide the efforts and include City of Little Rock staff and stakeholders.
“The vitality of Main Street is critical to the future of Little Rock,” said Mayor Stodola. “If we are to achieve our fullest potential, then Main Street must reemerge as a cultural nexus of our city. The thriving River Market District is living proof that Little Rock is capable of remarkable revitalization projects. If we can focus the talent in our city to put that same energy toward Main Street, the results will be truly limitless.”
“We are pleased to be asked by Mayor Stodola to lead the way in this very important next phase in downtown revitalization,” said Sharon Priest, executive director of Downtown Little Rock Partnership. “We hope this survey will help us learn how to better serve those who want to live, play, work and invest in Main Street and downtown Little Rock. We are all stakeholders.
In addition to the Marketing Survey, subcommittees have been formed for:
Existing Structures -- to develop guidelines for determining the historic significance and viability of a structure and offering property owners funding resources and tax incentives as an alternative to demolition. Chaired by Dan Fowler, DLRP board member, Cromwell Architects Engineers.
Safety -- to explore ways to address perceived safety on Main Street. Chaired by Anton Janik, DLRP member, Mitchell Williams.
Streetscape -- to determine changes in the streetscape needed thereby creating a more desirable Main Street for development. Chaired by Tom Adams, DLRP member, Wittenberg, Delony & Davidson, Inc.
Economic Research and Demographics -- to develop the research needed to support recruitment of investors. Chaired by Mayor Mark Stodola, City of Little Rock.
Peer City Research -- to research other cities of similar size and their approaches to revitalization. Chaired by Mike South, DLRP member, Flake & Kelley Commercial.
Downtown Little Rock Partnership was created in March 1984 at the dissolution of Little Rock Unlimited Progress (Little Rock Up). Today the nonprofit organization represents approximately 200 members. Among the many early objectives of the organization were: to stimulate growth and development in Little Rock’s central business district; to provide improved parking and public transportation; and to encourage more retail, commercial, professional and tourist-related activities. These three objectives are still viable today with approaches to each being creatively defined and redefined to adapt to the ever changing times.
Additionally, these past several years it has become apparent that a fourth objective is to encourage living downtown and to support the evolving neighborhoods in their connections to the central business district. Wyck Nisbet of Friday, Eldredge and Clark is currently president of the DLRP Board of Directors.
For more information please contact Downtown Little Rock Partnership (501.375.0121).