Downtown Little Rock Development Plan
The Downtown Little Rock Development Plan was the first concerted public-private effort to redevelop the downtown riverfront and East Markham Warehouse District (also known as "Old Town").
The plan was sponsored by city planning director Nathaniel Griffin and the design firm of Hodges, Vines, Fox, and Associates. The plan's architects imagined pedestrian traffic anchored by mixed-use development offering opportunities for recreation, sightseeing, and entertainment. City officials, planners, business leaders, and Metrocentre officials hoped the plan would stimulate the development of Riverfront Park along the Arkansas River, the refurbishment of Kempner Opera House, the Pulaski County Courthouse, Little Rock City Hall, and the Old State House, and provide enhancements to the Statehouse Convention Center and its plaza. These improvements would tie together the riverfront and Metrocentre in the central business district, which had become isolated over time by vacant lots, neglect, and outright abandonment of buildings.
The historic River Market District flourishes along East Markham (now President Clinton) Avenue today, but its link to Metrocentre and Main Street remains tenuous. Three of the first four blocks encountered on Main Street at its intersection with Markham Avenue are parking lots.
- Linda Caillouet, "Retailers' Flight Left Void That Put Street in Decline," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 14, 2000.
- Hodges, Vines, Fox & Associates, Downtown Little Rock Development Plan, Vol. 2: Land Use Plan (Little Rock, AR: Hodges, Vines, Fox & Associates, January 1982).
- Hodges, Vines, Fox & Associates, Downtown Little Rock Development Plan, Vol. 3: Implementation Strategy (Little Rock, AR: Hodges Dean Lowe McGetrick & Moses, August 1982).