West Memphis, Arkansas
In 2010, the City of West Memphis held a CIRD Your Town workshop to learn how to assess West Memphis’ assets and capitalize on them focusing on enhancing the city’s gateways, building a green infrastructure network, and revitalizing the heart of Broadway, the city’s mains street. Your Town West Memphis: Gateways, Greenways, and Broadway included faculty with expertise in property development, architectural design, community revitalization and riverfront development. They led discussions about how the town can raise awareness of local and regional assets, explore concepts for sustainable economic growth, and identify opportunities and constraints to realizing the West Memphis of the future.
The workshop focused on implementation of ideas and projects rather than the development of a plan that would sit on a shelf, as many had done in the past. Representatives of the community, interested citizens, planners, design professionals and preservationists joined together to recommend steps to protect the character, authenticity and integrity of West Memphis’ historic structures and cultural properties. Participants also tackled the issues of adaptive reuse of buildings, traffic and parking, pedestrian safety and amenities, revitalizing public spaces for residents, restoring the landscape and the riverfront. They included a State Representative, Mayor City Council, developers, and bankers. Since the workshop, a number of small meetings have been held to discuss the best way to proceed and continue the momentum. Main Street put the presentations on their website; and the core group is working on presentations to recap the workshop showing opportunities and action items. The hope is that other key people will take leadership of each item creating separate committees for each item – Gateways, Greenways, or Broadway.