Fayetteville, Ark., Creation of a new civic plaza for the cultural arts downtown: CEG

Wed June 29, 2022 – South East Edition
City of Fayetteville and Arkansas Money and Politics

The West Avenue Civic Plaza features a central lawn, promenade, art gardens, pathways and more. Two buildings are proposed as anchor points for the south and north ends of the Civic Plaza. (Courtesy of the City of Fayetteville, Arkansas)

The City of Fayetteville, Ark., has worked diligently on various construction projects in its downtown area, including the West Avenue Civic Plaza, a key part of the development of the community’s cultural arts corridor.

When the project is complete, the plaza will be renamed “The Ramble” and become a place that helps connect Fayetteville’s cultural and natural attractions to downtown and the entertainment district, Arkansas Money & Politics (AMP) reported to the mid-June.

An online description of the project, taken from the city’s official website, describes The Ramble as a “corridor…designed to be a vibrant new 50-acre outdoor public space that will help revitalize downtown Fayetteville and create a destination for residents and visitors.”

Connecting Fayetteville’s major cultural institutions, including the Walton Arts Center, TheatreSquared, Nadine Baum Studios, Fayetteville Public Library, and the University of Arkansas Art and Design District, the corridor will showcase and celebrate the local artistic culture of the community.

“It will also improve civic space and serve as a catalyst for additional development and density in the downtown core, increasing bike lanes and connections, and improving streets and walking,” the city noted.

The creation of The Ramble is funded, in part, by a $226 million public infrastructure bond package approved by Fayetteville voters in April 2019.

Since then, Fayetteville has invested more than $31 million in developing The Ramble corridor, which includes Fay Jones Woods – complete with streetscape and pathway improvements – in addition to a new 300-space parking lot on West Avenue. and Dickson Street, and a civic space with an anchor building.

AMP noted that green space for events, a public plaza, garden spaces and a civic promenade are all designed to be in The Ramble, and the city believes its yard, anchoring the south end of the project , will create a dynamic and experiential space. square. The land it will be built on is between Fayetteville’s downtown plaza and the University of Arkansas campus, adjacent to the Razorback Regional Greenway.

March 2024 is defined as the month when construction of the new Fayetteville/The Ramble Cultural Arts Corridor will be completed, AMP reported.

City sets ambitious goals for The Ramble

There are five main elements included in the plans for The Ramble project: West Avenue civic space, West Avenue streetscapes, Fay Jones Woods, the Razorback Greenway, and a new parking lot at the corner of West and Dickson streets. The work is taking place in two phases, specifies the town hall.

Construction of the first phase of the corridor is underway, AMP reported, after the project received a bond allocation of $10 million, and the design and tender were completed for alternate parking. Previously, a bond of $10.3 million had been paid for the creation of new woodlots, designed to allow maximum preservation of the forest. This part of the project has since been completed.

With the new car deck to be built at West and Dickson, the parking needs of The Ramble and Dickson Street, the city’s entertainment district, will be more adequately and efficiently served, AMP noted.

The news site also reported that construction of civic space is progressing rapidly, with an expected completion in early 2023.

Carefully created Fayetteville master plan

Innovative development proposals for the southern anchor building are currently being sought by the city, which desires both beautiful and exceptional architectural quality and materials suited to the location, AMP noted. With the building’s vision as a demonstration model of high-quality urban design, Fayetteville wants its plan to be a standard bearer for future downtown development.

The city’s downtown master plan, created in 2004 and adopted by the Fayetteville City Council, has six fundamental strategies, including attracting more people to live downtown, creating smart parking, and interconnecting popular places.

AMP reported that improvements for pedestrians are already underway. This effort is operating from a $3 million allocation to improve downtown Fayetteville’s sidewalks, lighting, ramps and other pedestrian needs.

Aiming to create a connection between the Dickson Street Entertainment District and the Downtown District, the Spring Street Lighting Project will help people feel safe and comfortable in their surroundings while walking along the av.

With construction on Church Avenue and Meadow Street now complete, work moved to the Prairie Street and West Avenue project, also dedicated to better walking. The City of Fayetteville’s engineering division recently completed the design for this phase of the overall project, and construction is expected to begin later this year or early 2023.

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