North Little Rock Plaza Designs Revealed; Concerns Linger Across River

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - When you have something nice, people will follow.

"Right now, we have a good tourism base," says Kimberly Robuck, who's a waitress in the River Market.

"We will lose some of our clientele," she says.

She is concerned about the new North Little Rock Plaza.

"That'll be the new spot. There's no way they're going to build a new center in the Argenta area and the people who come here now not go and see that," says Robuck.

The North Little Rock Plaza, which will have benches, green space and a water wall, will be located off Main Street between Fifth and Sixth streets.

"We're anticipating huge crowds," says Argenta Downtown Council Marketing Director Chris Kent.

Kami Kaito, a new sushi restaurant opened across the street from where the Plaza will be. The restaurant's Manager Junpyo Kim says they're already preparing for the crowds that the Plaza will bring.

"We have full staff kitchen, we're actually looking for another Chef as well. So we're getting ready for it as well," says Kim.

North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith says the total price for the project is still being totaled up but they have around $2 million for the project, which is about what the new Plaza will cost.

He says the City has been saving up for the last five years and none of the Plaza money is coming from the City's recent sales tax vote.

"We're going to build the Plaza whether the sales tax had passed or not. So this is all already money in the bank," says Smith.

The Mayor says they've been collecting that money from downtown property sales.

Smith says $30 million has already been invested by businesses near the Plaza, with lingering anticipation.

"It's an exciting time in Argenta," says Kent.

With excitement comes hope and curiosity on both sides of the river.

"I feel like it's going to affect my money," says Robuck.

Construction is expected to start early next year. There's hope the new Plaza will be up and running by Christmas 2018, of course, weather playing the ultimate factor.

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