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The following article was published on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette online. An excerpt is below.
Public Meeting announced for LR Main Street Filtration Project
May 14, 2013
Little Rock’s public works department will host a public meeting Monday (May 20, 2013) to discuss the city’s Water Quality Demonstration Project along the 100, 200, 300 and 500 blocks of Main Street.
The meeting will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on the first floor of the Lafayette Building, located at 523 Louisiana St.
A previous Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article states the low-impact development project aims to improve water quality through the installation of “porous pavers, tree wells, rain gardens and other water-filtration methods along portions of Main Street.” The Environmental Protection Agency, through the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, in July awarded $900,000 to the city of Little Rock to fund the project.
SOMA organizer discusses the design vision for the neighborhood and community involvement.
James Meyer is a project designer with Witsell Evans Rasco Architects/Planners and associate director of the American Institute of Architects Arkansas Chapter. He is the marketing and public relations chair for studioMAIN.
Q: For those who may have missed the buzz over the last year or so, let me start by asking you to tell me a little about studioMAIN. What is it, in a nutshell, and what does the group do?
A: StudioMAIN is a public outreach and community design center that works toward educating the general public about the role of good design in their daily lives and advocates the positive effects good design provides to cities and communities.
We function as a design collaboration between all parts of the design and construction industries, including architects, landscape architects, urban designers, contractors and artists. Our hope is that studioMAIN will provide a place for people to learn more about some of the great design efforts in our city, and to be an incubator for even better ideas about the future of our city.
A key part of our mission is to foster collaboration and encourage multi-disciplinary partnerships between the design fields and other civic institutions. We feel this is a critical endeavor to help develop the future leaders of our city and institutions, and promote a better built environment.
Q: Part of your mission involves hosting exhibits in your office on South Main, right? And I’m told you have an exhibit schedule for the year already? Can you share details?
A: Yep, for the past year we have been hosting monthly exhibitions on local design and issues as part of the city’s Second Friday Art Nights, and have gotten lots of positive feedback. Thanks to this community input we have been able to craft a full and exciting schedule for this year.
In February we will have our Year-in-Review exhibit, which will be a great way for folks who missed some of last year’s exhibits to get caught up. In March, we will be holding a book fundraiser for the DLRCDC and the Pettaway Park Masterplan manual. In April we will hold a memorial exhibition for Rick Redden, a local architect who passed away last year after making incredible contributions to our downtown. In honor of the Arkansas Arts Center’s Bauhaus exhibit this summer, we will have an exhibit of buildings in Arkansas that were influenced by the Bauhaus style. June will bring us a juried student competition from the Fay Jones School of Architecture, and in July we will be exhibiting furniture by UALR Applied Design students. In August we will have a public showing of the finalists for the Envision Little Rock competition. We will hold another PopUp public planning and input in September. An exhibition about transportation called Bikes, Rails and Trails will be seen in October. We will host the Arkansas Design Awards in November showing works from local architects, landscape architects and interior designers. We will finish the year up with an event celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Nolen Masterplan for Little Rock.
Outside of our Second Fridays there are several events we hope to contribute to again, such as the Little Rock Film Festival. It’s definitely going to be a busy year.
Q: You mentioned there’s another PopUp event coming in the not too distant future. What can you tell me about that and the plans for it? What may be the same or different this time around?
A: PopUp Main Street gave us a wonderful opportunity to create a full-scale test for a “complete street” design that folks have been talking about in Little Rock for years. The City of Little Rock and Create Little Rock have been great partners for us with this event. We hope to keep this partnership of experimentation and placemaking going, and hold another PopUp event this year as well.
We are just beginning our process for the next PopUp event. Main Street, Seventh Street, Second Street and the Argenta area have all been mentioned as possible locations. We will have a few exploratory and organizing meetings before selecting the final location, and then we will start holding our public input and design sessions again in August of this year. We tentatively plan to hold the actual event in October or November.
- Saturday, November 3, 2012 Early Voting Ends
- Tuesday, November 6, 2012 Election Day
- Saturday, November 3, 2012 Cornbread Festival
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Between 13th & 16th Streets on South Main
Downtown Little Rock, Arkansas
Arkansans know what’s good, and that is cornbread. Celebrate pure, simple and good food, music and community at the Arkansas Cornbread Festival. Show off your best cornbread and side dish in the tasting competition, sell your Arkansas goods and services on South Main Street, reach out to Arkansans just like you who want to make their community a better place, and get down to the best blues, folk, country and rock bands in the state
- Friday, November 9, 2012 Friday Night Art Night
Downtown Little Rock 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
2nd Friday Art Night: a time once-a-month when galleries, museums and businesses in downtown Little Rock are open from 5-8 p.m. for an after-hours gallery walk.
- November 9-11, 2012 Pop Up Mainstreet
POP UP MAIN STREET
Novemeber 9th – 11th
12th-15th Blocks of South Main
The South Main area has come a long way over the last few years and has become one of the most exciting neighborhoods in our city. On November 9th-11th Create Little Rock and studioMAIN invite you to join in celebrating this great place as part of Pop Up Main Street. The event will include temporary changes and designs to streets and sidewalks and can provide a vision of how things might develop.
Pop Up Main Street will focus its visioning efforts on the three blocks nearest to Interstate 630, otherwise known as the 12th-15st Corridor. Two of the key principles of the plan are to increase multi-modal traffic and fill the remaining gaps in the urban fabric. Our intent is to create a great street environment and to test intelligent design solutions that will invite community discussion about the current reality of our Main Street is, and what it can become in the future.
Little Rock Main Street project gets $900,000 infusion
By Katie Doherty
The Pulaski County Revolving Loan Fund, backed by the Environmental Protection Agency, will infuse $900,000 into Little Rock’s Main Street to create a mixed-used project of retail space and apartments, the city announced Thursday morning.
The project will revitalize about 250,000 square feet of vacant property in four historic buildings that have been vacant for years……..
To read the rest of this article click (here).
What does the Cornbread Festival, Better Block Project and StudioMAIN have in common…community resurgence
What do you imagine to fill the empty lots and stores along Main St.? would you like your favorite store to open in our area? It may – for a weekend of festival.
Led by StudioMain and an offshoot of the LR Chamber of Commerce called Create LR, our community will make our visions real – for that weekend of Nov. 3, as we celebrate at the Cornbread Festival, and visit new retail outlets, cafes and service outlets on display on Main from 12th to 16th St. DNA voted to occupy a booth at the event, and we encourage all subscribers to drop by and say Hello.
Taking over vacant blocks and installing storefront cafes with tables on the sidewalk, opening a children’s art studio in a vacant garage, chalking bicycle lanes on the pavement, and adding a water fountain at an intersection, making it a roundabout, are among ideas suggested Wednesday at a workshop for activists seeking to revitalize Main St.
The sheets of plans were put on display Friday evening at StudioMain at 1423 S. Main St.
We want to know:
What do you want? For examples of what has been done elsewhere, check out:
- · THE BETTER BLOCK PROJECT
The “Better Block” project is a demonstration tool that revisions an area to show the potential to create a great walkable, vibrant neighborhood center. The project acts as a living charrette so that communities can actively engage in the “complete streets” buildout process and develop pop-up businesses to show the potential for revitalized economic activity in an area. Better Blocks are now being performed throughout the country, and have helped cities rapidly implement infrastructure and policy changes.
Submit your ideas to Ask a Question at StudioMain at:
speak to managers of your favorite stores, and invite them to participate.
Maggie Hawkins, Facilitator for Pettaway’s East Broadway Alert Center was named to fill the District 7 seat of Little Rock’s Downtown Neighborhood Association representing the Pettaway community from Roosevelt Road to East 17th Street and from I-30 to Main Street. Hawkins has previously served on the DNA board. She was appointed by acclamation.
She can be reached at 501.376.3406 for issues of concern east of Main Street. She will serve until the annual election of officers next October.
The Little Rock Downtown Neighborhood Association was established to promote downtown Little Rock, as a place to live and work, to assure the continuance of creation of those amenities and necessities that make urban life exciting and enjoyable. The Board holds public monthly meetings.