LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. announced Wednesday a three-phase revitalization plan for Asher Avenue as well as areas south of Interstate 630 and east of Interstate 30.
Mayor Scott said Asher Avenue is utilized as a city street but is a state highway.
Scott said Asher Avenue serves as a gateway to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) and Southwest Little Rock.
According to the mayor, vacant buildings can bring crime and low quality of life.
Little Rock Director of Planning and Development Jamie Collins is working with property owners to determine how to improve buildings in need of repair.
Collins said the process started by looking at buildings in need of immediate repair starting at Woodrow Street and west towards University.
Collins said he reached out to the owners of three properties.
The first property is an auto repair shop on the 5500 block of W. 33rd Street, which was damaged due to a fire. The owners sold the property. According to Collins, the new property owner sent plans to the city.
The second property is a dilapidated building on the 4500 block of Asher Avenue. Collins said a portion of the roof has fallen in. According to Collins, the property owner has decided to demolish the building.
The third building is on the 3000 block of Lewis Street, which has been used for storage in the past. Collins said the siding and roof are in disrepair. According to Collins, the property owners are planning to rehabilitate the building to create it to an office/mix-use type of building.
UA Little Rock Chancellor Christy Drale announced the Plaza shopping center will be revitalized.
Drale said it’s not just in the interest of the university, but of the community.
The university official said they hope to begin redevelopment this year to use the space for retail, restaurants and a variety of cultural activities.
According to Drale, the university owns the Plaza shopping center, Village apartments and the Coleman Sports Complex.
According to UA Little Rock Chancellor, the university’s predecessor, Little Rock Junior College, moved to the current location on the corner of University Avenue and Asher Avenue in 1949.
Drale said the university has a large stake in the Asher corridor.
Drale said the university wants to create a safe and attractive area nearby.
Mayor Scott also announced an incentive package for economic development south of I-630 and east of I-30.
According to the mayor, it is a first step to spur economic growth in the area.
Mayor Scott said if someone plans to build in that area, the city will waive building permit fees.
The mayor also said the city has partnered with Central Arkansas Water (CAW) and Little Rock Reclamation Authority (LRWRA) to provide a waiving of fees and reduction of costs.
Central Arkansas Water CEO Tad Bohannon said the community works best when it works together, and his company is happy to work with developers and homeowners to improve the area.
Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority CEO Greg Ramon said the revitalization is good for the community as a whole and his office is proud to support this effort.
Mayor Scott said to expect more announcements in the coming weeks.
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