MacArthur Park Group
The MacArthur Park Group began in the summer of 2006, at the prompting of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, to develop ways to enhance Little Rock’s first city park and its neighborhood, a National Register and local ordinance Historic District. This group of interested citizens has been meeting weekly since and represents varied constituencies including neighborhood residents, historic preservationists, economic and real estate developers, museum professionals, city staff, tourism promoters, environmentalists, bike polo players, cyclists and runners. A unique style of collaboration and cooperation has been the key to the group’s successes.
The discussions of the MacArthur Park Group focus on four issues:
Utilization of MacArthur Park’s open urban space,
Encouragement of cultural and heritage tourism,
Promotion of safety in the surrounding neighborhood, and
Fundraising to make improvements and/or upgrades to MacArthur Park.
Stakeholders and friends of MacArthur Park envision the surrounding neighborhood to be attractive, safe and useful for residents and visitors, and becoming part of a vibrant urban environment that links commerce, entertainment, recreation, work and everyday life with a citywide system of parks, open spaces and natural settings, friendly to all pedestrians.
MacArthur Park Group members initially raised over $200,000 for the creation of a plan for revitalizing the park that would incorporate this vision. The result was an award-winning path-- Connections: MacArthur Park Master Plan designed by Conway+Schulte Architects.
The Master Plan will help join the MacArthur Park Historic District with other neighborhoods in order to bring to reality the goal in the 2001 Master Plan for Little Rock Parks and Recreation…the creation of a “City in a Park.” This plan calls for a commitment to design and to create as many opportunities as possible for residents, workers and visitors alike to experience nature in their daily activities. Area development firms are encouraged to balance development and redevelopment with the preservation of the natural landscape, as well as the significant architectural fabric.
Since the creation of the Master Plan, the City of Little Rock has funded the North Plaza renovation and signage while Pulaski County has provided improvements on McMath Avenue and construction of the new south access road, Pulaski County Lane.
In 2011, the City of Little Rock designated an additional $500,000 from the recently approved sales tax referendum to fund additional improvements at MacArthur Park.
Currently, the multi-purpose courts are being renovated and should be completed soon.
Museum Art & Heritage Trail
Members of the MacArthur Park Group have developed and published the Museum, Art and Heritage Trail map, to guide visitors from the Riverfront Park area through the MacArthur Park Historic District and to the Park itself. Along with the Trail Map there is a downloadable audio tour available at www.littlerock.com/audiotour.
The MacArthur Park Group is working with the ongoing implementation of the Master Plan through fundraising—MacArthur Park 5K, Beer & Brats, Paws & Craws, and other special events—as well as support of other projects that arise such as the recently completed MacArthur Unleashed Dog Park.
MacArthur Park Master Plan
The goal of the MacArthur Park Master Plan is to promote the creation of a “City in a Park.” This plan calls for a commitment to design and to create as many opportunities as possible for residents, workers and visitors alike to experience nature in their daily activities. Area development firms are being encouraged to balance development and redevelopment with the preservation of the natural landscape, as well as the significant architectural fabric. The ultimate goal is for Little Rock to become a vibrant urban area, linking commerce, entertainment, recreation, work and everyday life within a citywide system of parks, open spaces, and natural settings, friendly to all pedestrians.
MacArthur Park can become the keystone for this concept of a “City in a Park.”