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Creating a "Welcome Mat" for the City of Little Rock

A local group ready to welcome visitors to the state's largest city claims right now, there's nothing to say "you've arrived" when you enter Little Rock. They want that to change.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - "Right now we really don't have anything that really introduces the people to the city of Little Rock," claimed Chair of the Beautification Committee, Bob Callans.

Callans has taken on the task, along with a panel of others, to pick from a selection of designs an "introduction" to Little Rock.

This progress is years in the making for Callans.

"This is a dream come true for me," he said.

He sparked the idea for a competition in honor of John Nolan’s 1913 “City in a Park” master plan for Little Rock.

Now, The Envision Little Rock design competition seeks creative ideas for the establishment of an eastern terminus for Capitol Avenue that would also serve as an iconic gateway to the city.

Callans envisions an iconic feature that people who already call Little Rock home can be proud of.

Working with Studio Main, Callans' plan has come to fruition.

11 finalists, narrowed down from dozens of students, professionals and the public, have designed a "welcome mat" of sorts.

"This is an opportunity to address the front door of our city," said James Meyer with Studio Main.

Meyer says they want to create a monumental and memorable gateway opposite the Capitol building.

They hope the city and eventually developers will be on board with the chosen design which will be selected Friday (8/23).

Studio Main, Envision Little Rock and the jurors want the design to include an iconic gateway for the city, and work as a multi-functional piece of urban infrastructure.

Meyer added, "We're gonna find a way to pick the one that fits the best for our city and see if it can happen and see if we can make this a real thing."

They may have just the right people in line to make the choice by compiling a jury with city and community leaders; and of course Callans who could be one design closer to a dream years in the making.

Callans said, "I just think it's one of the most fantastic things that we've done that we can get the City of Little Rock to think about for the future growth."

To see the 11 final designs and vote for your favorite, click here.
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