Rock Region METRO, the City of North Little Rock and the Argenta Downtown Council launch the first of two Argenta “parklets” along Main Street Thursday, Nov. 17. The parklets are street-side dining spaces that were created by converting four parking spaces along either side of Main Street by adding safety railing, sidewalk-level decking and planters.
“This is an excellent example of what transit-oriented development can do to help attract more visitors to an area,” said Justin Avery, Rock Region METRO chief executive officer. “We are excited to assist the City of North Little Rock in the enhancement of the downtown area with a project that not only increases safety surrounding the streetcar rail path but also increases the appeal of Main Street.”
The parklets, designed by local firm AMR Architects, provide dining areas and effectively extend walk paths, as well as offer railing to separate the METRO Streetcar tracks from pedestrians. The parklets are located on the east side of Main Street between Broadway and 4th Street and (opening soon) on the west side of Main Street between 4th and 5th Streets, slowing traffic on a busy four-lane road the streetcar shares with mixed traffic. Argenta, the original city and downtown neighborhood name, is known for its beautiful springtime flower beds along Main Street, and the parklets will continue that tradition through integrated planters that local businesses will maintain. The parklets are expected to improve the view from the streetcars as well as the street, complementing the neighborhood’s vibrancy and perhaps influencing the creation of additional parklets in both downtown North Little Rock and Little Rock. The parklets also encourage event organizers to include the streetcar system when conceiving downtown activities and promote its use to reach events by parking and riding.
METRO, the City of North Little Rock and the Argenta Downtown Council are launching this small transit-oriented development project jointly. The total cost of the parklets project is $213,436, with 80 percent ($170,748) covered by Rock Region METRO; 16 percent ($35,000) from the City of North Little Rock and roughly 4 percent ($7,688) from the Argenta Arts District. Business partners adjacent to the parklets will provide tables and seating for the parklets.
Coinciding with the opening of the parklets is a city-paid public parking area promotional campaign to showcase the roughly 200 free public parking spaces located one half-block east of Main Street between 6th Street and Bishop Lindsey Avenue and between 5th and 6th Streets.
“I’m proud of the work our elected officials and other community leaders have done to create a thriving downtown entertainment district,” said North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick. “We are pleased to be a part of this public-private partnership that offers a win for all the involved partners, as well as residents and guests.”
“The Argenta parklets represent the efforts of the downtown business community to keep Main Street active, walkable and visibly open for business, especially as we head into the busy holiday season. Our local restauranteurs are eager to put these to use!” said Chris Kent, Argenta Downtown Council executive director.