Little Rock leaders begin improvements on 12th Street corridor – KTHV

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — If you drive down Pine Street or Cedar Street, you’re bound to see a lot of road work along the 12th Street corridor.
This road work is all apart of an ongoing effort to revamp the area and attract more people.
“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.
This is a clear objective that they have in mind, but he said that hasn’t always been the case.
“We have a disproportionate number of vacant lots of boarded up homes, which is a magnet for criminal activity,” Richardson said.
Since 2008, he and other city leaders have been working to improve the 12th Street corridor.
Their most recent project was the 12th Street Station, and now a streetscape project.
Between public and private investments, he said 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.
Now, he’s 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. 
Back in 2011, 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 infrastructure, 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.
It’s a plan that Richardson said 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 live,” Richardson said. 
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