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Contact(s):Phyllis Dickerson

Tuesday, August 25, 2009



(Little Rock, AR – August 24, 2009) -- A team of nationally renowned city design experts will be in Little Rock this week to participate in a three-day project to develop a comprehensive strategy for Little Rock’s once-thriving Main Street corridor.

The project is part of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD), which is a joint effort by the American Architectural Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The MICD has conducted projects throughout the United States by collaborating with mayors, community leaders and property owners to develop strategies that would produce the highest and best use for properties in underachieving areas.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola proposed that the group study Little Rock’s Main Street corridor, comprising property on the east and west side of Main Street from Markham Street to Interstate 630. Stodola met with the group in 2007 for a brief study of the area and believes three full days of hands-on work reviewing the area will produce a good plan for the future.

“The potential of this project is tremendous,” Stodola said. “This type of collaborative effort is exactly what we need for Main Street to regain the economic vitality and cultural significance of its past. Little Rock can not afford for Main Street to languish and that is why I pushed for this study.”

The three-day work session will include two sessions at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce that are open to the public. The first public session will be at 6 p.m. Thursday and will feature remarks by the MICD resource team followed by a reception for those attending. The second public session will be at 3 p.m. Friday and will include the final presentation of the strategic plan formulated during the three-day event.

The MICD resource team includes the following:

William. A. Gilchrist – An urban designer and architect, Gilchrist’s resume includes assisting the City of New Orleans with recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina and consulting in Ukraine and Romania to help cities in those young democracies understand the nexus of local government, design, and development.

Cinda Gilliland – An artist and landscape architect, Gilliland’s work includes projects on academic and corporate campuses to community parks and urban centers.

Betsy Jackson – An urban planner, Jackson has worked in the field of downtown revitalization and management for 25 years and is president of The Urban Agenda, an urban development consulting firm.

Maurice Cox – Director of Design for the National Endowment for the Arts, Cox is a professor of architecture at the University of Virginia and is a former mayor of Charlottesville, VA.

Ron Bogle – A leader in higher education for more than 20 years, Bogle has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Architectural Foundation since 2002.

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