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Little Rock awarded $2 million planning grant by U.S. Department of Transportation for 30 Crossing Deck Park

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (February 20, 2023) – The U.S. Department of Transportation, as part of the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, has awarded a $2 million planning grant to the City of Little Rock to begin the design work for a proposed deck park over I-30 between 6th and 9th Streets. The City, along with the Arkansas Department of Transportation and the Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods, served as co-applicants on the grant proposal submitted in October of 2022.

The Reconnecting Communities grants are specifically for projects that reconnect the portions of a community that has been separated by the original construction of the interstate system. Recognizing that I-30 through downtown Little Rock fit that description, Fifty for the Future, a nonprofit made up of community-minded business leaders in the Little Rock region, engaged Garver Engineers in March of 2022 to craft the grant application and compile the necessary information and addendums with the assistance and coordination of the Little Rock Regional Chamber.

The Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods was later invited to participate in the process as a liaison to the various neighborhoods and communities that would directly benefit.  With the assistance of Coalition president Kathy Wells, the team was able to submit numerous letters of support from organizations and community leaders representing downtown residents and stakeholders as part of the grant application package.

From the early stages of the 30 Crossing project, the Little Rock business community has worked behind the scenes to improve the overall design, ensuring that the project benefitted downtown.  One of the major desires from the beginning was to construct a deck park over the interstate between 6th and 9th Street that would serve as a cap over the below-grade portion of the interstate to reconnect the fabric of the community. 

As part of the Reconnecting Communities grant program, the US Department of Transportation will also be awarding construction grants annually over the next four years. These much larger grants are designated for the actual construction work that will be conceived with this planning grant. The goal of all parties involved is to utilize the planning grant to facilitate the work necessary to apply for a construction grant in the future.

The planning process will be an open and inclusive one and will include public input. Details will be forthcoming once a schedule is established.

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