Fayetteville Transforms Block Avenue into Destination (Main Street Preservation | Honorable Mention, 20,000+)

Most visitors to Fayetteville are familiar with Dickson Street and the downtown square. After all, the two areas are big factors in Fayetteville’s growth and indeed, its funky vibe.

But the two areas are linked by what once was a forgotten historic corridor — Block Avenue.

In 2010, the city began transforming Block Avenue into its own destination spot, a pedestrian-friendly corridor with mixed-use components designed to encourage people to walk between Dickson and the square.

Three years later, Block Avenue (which includes three National Historic Register sites) is home to new shops, new trees, vintage street lights and wider, brick-lined sidewalks. Fayetteville’s re-imagining of Block Avenue earned it recognition as a 2013 Arkansas Business City of Distinction in the Main Street Preservation category.

Since being known locally as the “speedway to the square,” Block Avenue downtown has been transformed.

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan said the three-block section of Block was used for decades as a quick connection to a destination but rarely considered a destination itself.

“Until recently, it has never served as an integral connection of this combined historic area of the city, and improvements to Block Avenue had not been a priority for several decades,” he said. “Parking and vehicle access took priority on this street during the 1970s and 1980s, making it unpleasant and hazardous for pedestrians.”

The Block Avenue transformation was a capital improvement project developed by city staff with feedback from the community, and was funded by the Fayetteville City Council.

“Many of the historic pictures of Fayetteville capture parts of this street,” Jordan said. “Moreover, many tourism brochures or pictures taken by residents and visitors alike of Fayetteville often include buildings on this street. So, preserving the historic appeal of the street and area were of prime importance while making the street more vibrant and walkable.”