Cultural Arts Corridor
The City of Fayetteville seeks to improve publicly owned land and create a dynamic Cultural Arts Corridor at the heart of the City. This corridor will link cultural institutions—including the Walton Arts Center, TheatreSquared’s new performing arts venue, Nadine Baum Studios, Fayetteville Public Library, and the University of Arkansas’ Art and Design District—and will activate the outdoor environment, the Fay Jones Woods, between Dickson and Prairie Streets with amenities that will enhance the experience for city residents and visitors alike.
The plan will incorporate playful recreational elements, public art, streetscaping, enhanced pedestrian paths, and open-air gathering spaces while integrating the natural landscape within the urban fabric. The project will be designed to sustain and strengthen local ecologies and watersheds and demonstrate Fayetteville’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
The creation of this corridor will improve access and walkability between natural and urban public spaces, cultural attractions, the University of Arkansas, the Razorback Greenway, the Downtown Square, and the wider city. The City is also committed to replacing any displaced parking prior to construction so that access to downtown businesses and institutions can continue to thrive.
The plan for this transformative project is made possible by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation’s Design Excellence Program. Award-winning landscape architects Nelson Byrd Woltz (NBW) were selected to design the corridor. When complete, the 50-acre corridor will serve as a vibrant and memorable civic space for entertainment, community, and expression that showcases the unique character and creative culture of Fayetteville.
The Cultural Arts Corridor is a public investment on public land for public use. As is demonstrated in communities across the world, this type of public investment also spurs private development on private land. The project will be a catalyst for additional development and density in the downtown area, increasing bike trails and connections, and improving streets and walkability.
View the slide presentations below to learn more about elements included in the plans for the Cultural Arts Corridor's primary elements: The Fay Jones Woods, West Avenue, Razorback Greenway, and West Avenue Civic Space.
West Avenue Civic Space
The West Avenue Civic Space is in the heart of the Fayetteville entertainment district, bordered by Dickson Street, West Avenue, Spring Street and Razorback Greenway on the site of the West Avenue parking lot. The design proposes to transform the existing asphalt into a vibrant civic space that will foster community gathering, improve pedestrian and bicycle circulation, and support flexible programming of performances, events, and arts. Sustainable approaches to the landscape, water infiltration, and stormwater storage are incorporated into the design.
Central Gathering Lawn & Event Stage
20,000 sf of central gathering and event lawn is sized to accommodate events and can hold up to 3,000+ people. Shaded seating along the edges will support other places to gather or relax.
The Event Stage will support a variety of events. When not in use it can function as a gathering space along with the associated terraces. Activities can include outdoor seating for restaurants, or informal games such as table tennis.
A broad, 20-foot-wide promenade is the new pedestrian route parallel to West Avenue. Shaded by an allée of trees, it integrates seating, art, and lighting.
The promenade can also host two rows of tents and will have integrated event infrastructure. It can be combined into a ‘market’ or festival circuit if a portion of West Avenue between Dickson Avenue and Spring Street is closed to traffic.
An open shade pavilion is located across from Walton Art Center near the promenade. It provides shaded seating and can be a small performance venue and event support space.
Medium- and smaller-scale gathering spaces with permanent and moveable seating can support events and performances and be places of botanical display.
Permanent and rotating art installations will create visual interest and connection to the art programming throughout the corridor.
The existing spring below the parking lot will be brought to the surface. Bridges, seating, and native planting will enhance the experience.
Raingardens and pervious paving will collect stormwater runoff and clean it through bioremediation. The underground stormwater storage system will store water during large storm events and slowly release it to help reduce erosion and improve the health and safety of Tanglewood Branch downstream.
Fay Jones Woods and the Civic Space will be registered for SITES sustainability certification. SITES-certified landscapes help reduce water demand, filter and reduce stormwater runoff, provide wildlife habitat, reduce energy consumption, improve air quality, improve human health and increase outdoor recreation opportunities. If awarded, the project could be the first SITES certified project in the State of Arkansas.
A public- private partnership is proposed for the development of two key buildings that anchor the civic space: a 2-story building along Dickson Avenue and a 5-6-story building along Spring Street. These could support a broad range of programs that could enhance the civic space, including cafes, restaurants, art galleries, and community spaces.
The City has hired a consultant to provide a parking site analysis that will evaluate possible parking configuration, feasible number of spaces, most viable locations (based on survey responses), and other schematic site details for at least five Downtown/Dickson parking options to replace the West Ave Parking Lot. The results of this analysis will be used to guide the next steps in a Downtown/Dickson Parking Replacement Plan. Implementation of that plan will occur prior to the start of construction of the West Ave Civic Plaza.
The West Ave Civic Space will include public/private development opportunities for buildings located within/adjacent to the Civic Plaza. Since detailed design and construction of these buildings is outside the scope of the Cultural Arts Corridor, a Request for Proposals process will ensure that these buildings will have a complimentary timeline, cohesive design, and compatible uses to the adjacent CAC.
The City is doing what it can to develop the physical infrastructure of the Corridor to support Fayetteville’s vibrant arts community. And yet, how the corridor is ultimately imagined and realized is dependent on the community of artists, arts organizations, and the public. The City will work with arts consultants during the design phase to develop a programming plan that connects with the broad spectrum of Fayetteville's arts community and creates a broad range of program experiences tailored to available civic spaces while acknowledging and enhancing existing community events.
Fay Jones Woods: New Connections
The plan includes accessible pedestrian and bicycle trail connection from the Library extension and West Avenue to Razorback Greenway, combined with steeper informal paths and steps, clearings, places to sit, and a canopy walk.
Tanglewood Branch Restoration
Though it has been obscured by invasive honeysuckle and is susceptible to erosion, Tanglewood Branch Creek offers lovely pools and riffles. Creek restoration and invasive species removal will help improve the health and functionality of the creek and increase its safety and accessibility while also having positive water-quality effects for the Beaver Lake watershed.
Tree Preservation and Restoration Planting
The preservation of the woods is part of an agreement between the City of Fayetteville, The League of Women Voters, and the Sierra Club. The design will look to minimize impact on the existing canopy and land, create access with site-sensitive construction methods, and diversify the forest with native Ozark plants. This diverse plant community will be more resilient and serve as an educational opportunity.
Bridges and Trails
The steep terrain will allow for several places where bridges and boardwalks may hover over the ground. These paths will make new accessible connections to the Greenway from West Avenue, and across Tanglewood Branch to the Gregg Avenue Natural Area.
The design will feature one area where the path will leave the ground and create higher vantage points and perspectives of the woods.
The dedicated Greenway connection parallels the civic space and has multiple views and entry points that entice its users to stop and linger. The Civic Space will create more destinations for bikers and pedestrians, and will support Greenway activities such as biking, running, or community events.
Bike parking will be available at key locations.
Widening: Where possible, the Greenway will be widened and provide separate walking/cycling lanes.
Intersections: The design will look to improve visibility, eliminate sharp turns, and smooth grades to maximize safety and improve the user experience at several intersections.
Lighting: The Greenway lighting will be upgraded to ensure better visibility and safety in ways both functional and artful.
Within the Corridor, the design proposes periodic nodes—sites for places to sit, for art installations, or for small gatherings and events—to encourage even more use of the Greenway and Fay Jones Woods.
the Fay Jones Woods, new trails connect up the hill to West Avenue, to the Fay Jones Public Library, and to South Street. To the West, a bridge over Tanglewood Branch will connect the Greenway to Gregg Avenue.
At Spring Street, the City is exploring the development of new dedicated cycle lane that would connect to the Downtown Square. This would tie to the redesigned Greenway, making it the lowest gradient path available to cycle to/from the Downtown Square.
Avenue connects several key civic institutions, but currently lacks safe pedestrian infrastructure and lighting.
The design, from South Street to Dickson, proposes to build continuous sidewalks, increase street tree canopy, provide stormwater mitigation (LID), and improve the safety of both pedestrian and bicycle circulation. Several cross streets will be improved to provide better bicycle connections between the Square and the Razorback Greenway.
History of the Project
Bond Issue, April 9, 2019: In a special election, the people of Fayetteville voted in favor of a Bond issue that includes up to $31,685,000 for the construction of the Cultural Arts Corridor. View the full list of approved 2019 bond projects here.
Fayetteville City Council approved two resolutions (below) authorizing the City to move forward with designs for the Cultural Arts Corridor.
Resolution 258-17, passed on Dec 5, 2017, accepted the $1.77 M grant from the Walton Family Foundation for the design of the Cultural Arts Corridor Project, which encompasses 12 acres of City-owned property in the Corridor, including the West Avenue parking lot.
Resolution 138-18, passed on June 19, 2018, hired Nelson Byrd Woltz for Phase One of the design of the Cultural Arts Corridor Project.