Downtown Little Rock Partnership Advocates for Growth (Advertisement)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, May. 10, 2010 12:00 am  

Sharon Priest, executive director of DLRP

Downtown Little Rock Partnership
523 S. Louisiana St., Suite 305
Little Rock, Ark.   72201
(501) 375-0121
(501) 375-1377 (fax)

Number of Employees: 8
Top Executives: Sharon Priest, Executive Director                            Chuck Spohn, President of the Board of Directors
Product or Service: Advocating for Downtown Little Rock
Year Founded: 1984

When visitors consider a trip to “Downtown Little Rock” they often think only about the many attractions that line President Clinton Avenue in the vibrant River Market District. So it only makes sense that Sharon Priest, executive director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership (DLRP), for more than a year has organized and led monthly meetings of River Market business owners and others interested in accelerating the momentum that has been growing there for more than 10 years.

“If your vision of downtown is just four blocks on Clinton Avenue, then you’re cheating yourself,” Priest said. “There’s so much more.” That’s why DLRP takes a strong leadership role in the growth and revitalization of downtown. In addition to the River Market District expansion, two key DLRP projects are MacArthur Park and Main Street.

MacArthur Park

Every Friday morning for almost four years, Priest and other city stakeholders have met “to determine the best methods to make MacArthur Park a Class A park,” she said. “MacArthur Park is our city’s first park, and with the Arkansas Arts Center, the MacArthur Museum and the Korean War Memorial, it really needs to be one of our most significant parks.”

The group has already raised $100,000 to create an award-winning master plan, a long-term vision that will take $20 million to fully execute.

“We’re taking one step at a time,” Priest said. “You’re not going to see MacArthur Park get a $20 million grant but a lot of small grants that ultimately will result in it being done.”

A big step will be renovation of the park’s pond with a fishing pier and an amphitheater.

MacArthur Park anchors a southern section of downtown. To help connect the area north to Riverfront Park, a historic walk has been created, including an audio guide, which can be found at and downloaded to iPhones or other mobile devices.

Main Street

Main Street is downtown’s primary north-south artery, and restoring its vitality is essential to the health of downtown, of Little Rock and of Arkansas as a whole, Priest said. The DLRP is also helping lead those efforts.



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