I took a walk at lunch today from my office and travelled down Main st. Little Rock’s Main Street has long struggled to find its place it its modern city setting. Once the central artery of the city, it is now mostly vacant. Empty remnants of past department stores line the sidewalks like a time capsule to a forgotten time. Even more distressing is that Little Rock has had multiple attempts to try to revive it without much success. Despite the vacancies, however, the street remains one of the nicest and most pedestrian friendly streets in downtown, lined with trees that are lit up at night and that provide a buffer between the ample sidewalks and busy street. I’m my opinion, A street car line connecting the Rivermarket District to SoMa (South Main) District, across I-630, would provide a huge boost to the effort, but even without city involvement, local developers and organizations are trying to help Main st. with its comeback.
The city currently is actually looking at building a trolley line down Main street though it is still years away. But there once was a Trolley line on the street. All that is left is a single track and a plaque on the 200 block of Main.
The Downtown Little Rock Partnership installed a public art project called “the Bucket List” It’s an area on the corner of Capitol and Main where they have installed a chalkboard material on the corner of the building and stenciled in “Before I Die, I Want To…” and you fill in the blank spot next to one of them with the chalk provided. Some are good. Some are hokey and some are just vandalism but it’s an interesting idea.
Across the street, work is continuing on the old Blass Building. Developer Scott Reed is working on converting the old boarded up building into the Porter’s Jazz Club, which was slated to open Aug. 4. He had already been delayed quite a bit and it still has a ways to go but the fencing was finally down on the sidewalk and I was able to look in.
I also stopped by the Rep, one of Little Rocks treasures and one of the few solid centers of regular activity on Main st. It is currently being updated in between seasons.
I wandered all the way down to 7th before turning around and heading back to work. Good lunch break!