by Max Brantley
Ground will be broken today on improvements to the west amphitheater in Riverfront Park, a small seating area directly north across LaHarpe Boulevard from the back of the Old State House. (I tried this morning but couldn't lay hands on a photo of the small venue.)
Eight oaks were recently planted around the facility to honor Rick Redden, the late architect. Said a news release:
... Within these trees a plaza will cut through a large berm. Native stone boulders will flank it along with indigenous grasses. The plaza serves as a connection between the Arkansas River Trail and the West Amphitheatre. At the north end of the plaza there will be a stone and wooden pergola that will function as a gateway to the amphitheatre.
On each side of the pergola, Downtown Rotary Club will commit to planting over cup oaks in similar size. These will be complimented with Little Rock Parks and Recreation adding additional trees to complete enclosing the entire back side of the amphitheatre.
A city news release says this will create a space that can hold up to 500 people for smaller events. It's an attractive and often underused segment of the park west of the hotel and convention center.