North Little Rock starts repairing historic downtown

North Little Rock, Arkansas, has begun implementing a plan for construction of 1,400 apartments, condominium units, and detached houses, establishment of a farmers’ market, and other improvements in its downtown, on the banks of the Arkansas River across from downtown Little Rock.

Argenta, as North Little Rock’s downtown has historically been known, opened the farmers’ market last spring on a parking lot, When a new urban plaza is constructed, as called for in the Argenta District Master Plan prepared by Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh & Associates (TSW) of Atlanta, the market will relocate there.

TSW’s plan, aimed at revitalizing the downtown by renovating dilapidated historic buildings and adding appropriately-scaled new structures and uses, recently won the 2010 Achievement in Comprehensive Plan Award from the Arkansas Chapter of the American Planning Association. If everything in the plan comes to fruition, the community would see $210 million of residential development and $120 million of new and improved public facilities.

TSW worked with individuals and organizations that included the Argenta Community Development Corp. and a development firm called The Mill LLC. Envisioned is a district containing two sports arenas, a riverfront park, new fire and police stations, a public health facility, a multi-modal transportation hub, a walkable Main Street, a walking and bicycling trail, and tree-lined residential streets with a mix of housing types. Form-based codes will regulate development.