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City leaders begin improvements on 12th Street corridor in Little Rock



Little Rock, Arkansas – A lot of road work can be seen along the 12th Street corridor.

“To make this area livable, and make this area a nice place that you want to claim and be proud to say this is where I live,” said Ken Richardson, City Board Director.

But that hasn’t always been the case, he said. “We have a disproportionate number of vacant lots of boarded-up homes, which is a magnet for criminal activity,” Richardson said.

He and other city leaders have been working to improve the 12th Street corridor since 2008. Their most recent project was the 12th Street Station.

According to Richardson, more than $20 million has been invested in the area. “We’ve seen the city do a wonderful job of redevelopment down in the River Market and in the downtown area,” Richardson said.

Richardson is hoping his side of town can follow that same trend for redevelopment. But, that plan will take some help from those like Casey Covington, who is the Deputy Director for Metroplan in Little Rock. “We funded five areas in central Arkansas that we call jumpstart areas,” Covington said.

Those ‘jumpstarts’ include areas in North Little Rock, Park Hill, Conway, and Bryant. This has been a consistent effort too.

11 years ago, the organization got a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to improve those jumpstart areas like 12th Street. “To help jumpstart those communities from a redevelopment standpoint, and from an economic opportunity standpoint,” Covington said. That’s done by improving city infrastructures, such as roadways and buildings. “When we can invest in areas that already have city infrastructure, that can be a much more efficient use of public goods and public money,” Covington said.

According to Richardson, it’s a plan he is hopeful will continue to add value to the 12th Street corridor, a place he’s called home for many years. “It means a lot to me that we were able to take that, transform that, and really tailor to a whole new community– a place that people want to come to live,” Richardson said.