The city of Fayetteville has been working diligently on various construction projects downtown, including the West Avenue Civic Plaza. As a key element of the City’s Cultural Arts Corridor, which is now known as “The Ramble,” Fayetteville’s cultural and natural attractions are linked with the downtown and entertainment district.
Fayetteville has invested over $31 million in the development of The Ramble, which was financed through the passage of a $226 million public infrastructure bond issue in 2019. The Ramble is composed of the Fay Jones Woods – with streetscape and trail improvements, a new 300-space parking deck at West Ave. and Dickson St. and a civic space with anchor buildings for this site.
A gathering event lawn, public plaza, garden spaces and a civic promenade are designed for the civic space and the building site ensures this project will create a dynamic and experiential place. The building site is located between the downtown square and the University campus, adjacent to the Razorback Regional Greenway.
Phase One of the project is underway, with the design and bidding completed for replacement parking. The bond funding for this is $10 million, with construction that started this year. The Fay Jones Woods, Streetscapes and Trails was allocated $10.3 million in bond funding with construction to this phase completed.
With a new parking deck to be constructed at the corner of West Ave. and Dickson St., the parking needs of The Ramble and Dickson St., the Entertainment District will be more adequately and efficiently served. Construction is currently underway for the civic space, with completion of the project predicted for early 2023. The building site will anchor the southern end of the civic space. The timeline of the Cultural Arts Corridor Design and Construction predicts March 2024 as the completion date for all construction on this project.
Innovative development proposals for the southern anchor building are currently being sought out by the City, which wants both beautiful and exceptional architecture quality and materiality befitting the location. With the vision of the building as a model demonstration of high-quality urban design, the City envisions this to set the standard for the future of downtown development.
Fayetteville’s downtown master plan, which was created in 2004 and adopted by the City Council, has six fundamental strategies, including objectives of getting more people to live downtown, creating smart parking and creating interconnected special places.
Downtown sidewalk and walkability improvements are underway. The project consists of an allocation of $3 million of funding for downtown’s sidewalks, lighting, curb ramps and other pedestrian improvements. This project is of importance and because citizen’s feedback indicated a better walkability effort, the allocation of funds is allowing for the implementation of these improvements.
With the goal in mind to create a connection between Dickson Street Entertainment District and the Downtown District, the Spring Street lighting project will encourage people to feel safe and comfortable in their surroundings from walking along Spring Street to popular destinations.
The design includes alternating pole spacing on each side of the street within the narrow green space, providing optimal lighting coverage of the sidewalks and roadway. A decorative acorn style lighting is included, matching College, Block, and Church avenues and the Square. The LED lights are energy efficient with a warm 3,000 Kelvin color. These lights are also dark-sky friendly.
With the Church Avenue and Meadow Street construction completed, the Prairie Street and West Avenue project that is also dedicated to walkability is underway. The City of Fayetteville Engineering Division has completed the design for this project. The construction is expected to begin later this year or in 2023. The project budget use was at 98.7 percent of the budget as of June 1, 2022, with actual expenses paid and budget encumbrances shown.
With the groundbreaking for improvements to Fay Jones Woods in Sept. 2020, construction is currently underway to allow maximum preservation of the forest.
For more information about the Cultural Arts Corridor, click here. The plan for the transformative project is made possible by the Walton Family Foundation’s Design Excellence Program grant. Nelson Byrd Woltz, award-winning landscape architects, were selected to design the corridor.