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
- Integration of the MacArthur Park area with the River Market, River Front Park, the Clinton Presidential Library and Park, Main Street, and other downtown areas.
For MacArthur Park and its surrounding neighborhood to be attractive, safe and useful for residents and visitors, 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.
History of the MacArthur Park Group
The MacArthur Park Group formed in the summer of 2006 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 represents varied constituencies: neighborhood residents, historic preservationists, economic and real estate developers, museum professionals, city staff, mass transportation staff, tourism promoters, environmentalists, cyclists and runners. An unique style of collaboration and cooperation has yielded striking results for the group.
The MacArthur Park Group has developed and published the Museum, Art and Heritage Trail map, to guide visitors from the River Front 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.
Coordinated through Little Rock’s Parks and Recreation Department, the group has selected Conway Schulte to study the Park and its relationship to the surrounding neighborhood. Research and focus groups will investigate topics such as lighting, landscaping, and transportation linkage to President Clinton Avenue and the River Market Area. Other areas of interest include safety in the Park and interaction with the Park’s cultural facilities, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, the Arkansas Arts Center, and the nearby U.A.L.R. Bowen School of Law. The final draft of the plan is available at http://macarthurpark.pbwiki.com The resulting Master Plan should help the City 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 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.”