Little Rock Downtown Partnership
The Little Rock Downtown Partnership is a nonprofit organization "charged with developing and promoting Downtown Little Rock as a vibrant national and international tourist destination, as well as a high-energy urban environment to live and grow businesses." The Partnership has about 225 members, representing local businesses, government units, nonprofits, churches, landowners, colleges, and universities.
The Little Rock Downtown Partnership was formed in 1985 as a successor organization to Little Rock Unlimited Progress which had flagged in its bargaining power. As Unlimited Progress director Sterling Cockrill Jr. explained the change, "They needed an organization with CEOs back in charge." The first director of the Downtown Partnership was urban planner Don Wolfe of Tulsa. The second director of the organization was Jack Turner. The third director was Shannon Torbet. The fourth director was Christie Tilsbury. The fifth director, hired in 2001, was Jim Schimmer. The current director is former Arkansas Secretary of State Sharon Priest.
The Downtown Partnership periodically establishes local task forces, publishes a newsletter, holds Breakfast Briefings, and offers scholarships to employees of member businesses. The weekly public meeting of the Partnership takes place on Thursday at 1 PM. Some problems of current interest to the Downtown Partnership are aggressive panhandling in the River Market, when to close President Clinton Avenue for special events, parking, and nighttime teenage cruising. Partnership offices are located on the second floor of Dickinson Hall.
The Executive Committee president is Warren Simpson. Current vice-president is Wyck Nisbet. Past president is Rett Tucker. The treasurer is Jim Cargill, and secretary is Chuck Spohn. At-large member of the executive committee is Bob East. The Executive Committee also has three local government representatives: Dean Kumpuris for the City of Little Rock, Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore, and Metrocentre representative Millie Ward. The Partnership Board of Directors has 59 members.
- "Everybody's Business," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, June 3, 2001.
- Little Rock Downtown Partnership, The Downtown Spirit: The Little Rock Downtown Partnership 1985 Program of Work (Little Rock, AR: Downtown Partnership, 1985).