NORTH LITTLE ROCK (Thursday, June 11, 2020) – The North Little Rock City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Monday night to establish an entertainment district in downtown North Little Rock, which would be known as the Argenta Outdoor Dining District. North Little Rock is the latest Arkansas city to establish an entertainment district after Act 812 passed in early 2019.
The Argenta Outdoor Dining District is in effect seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The district includes Main Street from 8th Street to Broadway, 4th Street from Maple to Poplar, and Argenta Plaza. The North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau would have the option to include or exclude Argenta Plaza due to private or special events.
“Our hope and that of the City’s was to make this as simple as possible,” said Bob Major, President & CEO of the North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau. “With the help of the City Attorney’s office, we’ve accomplished that. Now we are working with the City to get boundaries marked as soon as possible so people can enjoy our beautiful downtown.”
The Argenta Downtown Council, City of North Little Rock and the North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau worked in tandem to get the ordinance passed as quickly as possible to assist businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Outdoor dining will allow restaurants and bars to socially distance more customers and patrons will be able to carry and consume alcoholic beverages within the district. The City will be marking the boundaries on sidewalks as soon as possible. Argenta Outdoor Dining District rules, map and list of participating locations will soon be available at ArgentaArtsDistrict.org and NorthLittleRock.org.
Download the Argenta Outdoor Entertainment District Map here.
The Argenta Downtown Council had been working through plans for an entertainment district since the act passed, but the recent COVID-19 pandemic gave the project more urgency.
“Our Argenta businesses have been hit especially hard, because the neighborhood thrives on an atmosphere of togetherness,” said Chris Kent, Executive Director of the Argenta Downtown Council. “The live performances and events that are part of the Argenta experience have, for good reason, been put on hold. This outdoor dining district allows us to recapture some of that spirit, but in safe ways.”
The outdoor dining district is the latest in efforts by North Little Rock Mayor Joe A. Smith and the City of North Little Rock to assist small businesses. Any restaurants throughout the city are encouraged to pursue outdoor dining with minimal red tape from the City to take in more customers during this time. The North Little Rock Small Business Council is also accepting applications for the COVID-19 Small Business Economic Fund.