A North Little Rock nonprofit has launched an ‘Envision Competition,’ calling for public input on the development of 20-acres of open space in downtown Little Rock. The property is located in the River Market District near the Clinton Presidential Center, the Central Arkansas Library System’s main library, Museum of Discovery and many other businesses and residential buildings.
StudioMAIN, a volunteer group of engineers, architects and more, hopes to turn piles of dirt left behind in the wake of the I-30 Crossing Project into something more advantageous.
The 30 Crossing project proposes to improve Interstate 30 from Interstate 530 and Interstate 440 to Interstate 40 in the Little Rock area, including the Arkansas River Bridge, and a portion of I-40 from Highway 365 (MacArthur Drive) to Highway 67/167, including associated interchanges.
“30 Crossing is the largest and most expensive project that ARDoT has ever undertaken,” the nonprofit group explained, “and it affects many communities, but has an enormous impact on the urban fabric of downtown Little Rock.”
The I-30 Crossing Project is currently in phase one, during which the Arkansas River Bridge, Downtown’s 6th to 9th Bridges, the Broadway Bridge and the Washington Bridge will be redone. The entire project is slated to be complete in 2025.
“When completed, the interstate improvements will result in a dramatically different landscape presenting many challenges as well as opportunities for redevelopment,” explained StudioMAIN. “An expansive 20-acre open space partially covered by the new interstate, and restricted to development of parks, recreation and vehicular amenities will fill the void previously occupied interstate on and off-ramps. Envision 30-Crossing will challenge designers to create solutions to the impacts of the 30-Crossing project on pedestrian connectivity, greenspace programming, supporting adjacent economic activity and activating a new public space beneath the interstate.”
StudioMAIN said the competition is intended to focus on how the interstate highway interacts with the city and provide visionary ideas which might influence the future design of how the city responds to the highway.
Competition winners will be separated into three jury-deliberated award categories: The “Professional” and “Student” category winners will be awarded $1,500; and the “Public” category winner will received $750.
There will also be “Public Choice Awards,” which will be selected by an online public vote and can be awarded to any entrant, regardless of which category they are registered. These awards can be combined allowing the same entrant to win a combination of the public and juried awards. The categories are:
- · “Little Rock Placemaking” ($250) – for the project that presents the best iconic and memorable design that evokes true ‘sense of place’.
- · “Establishing Connections” ($250) – for the project that establishes vital connections for current and future contingencies.
- · “The Wildcard” ($250) – where anything goes.
Interested participants can follow this link, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Students can participate for free upon providing documentation of current enrollment status, full or part-time. There is a $25 fee per entry and the public is encouraged to apply. StudioMAIN said registration fees help fund the awards as well as support the nonprofit’s mission. Refunds will not be provided to participants who do not submit per the competition guidelines. Winners will be announced Aug. 12, 2022.