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Six finalists are ready for public voting for the most marketable name for North Little Rock's planned downtown plaza, Mayor Joe Smith announced at Monday's City Council meeting.

Online voting by the public is open until noon next Tuesday at the city's website, under the Government tab.

The six proposed names are: Argenta Plaza, Argenta Commons, Argenta Square, North Little Rock's Argenta Plaza, Silver Dog Crossing and Main Street Plaza.

Voters are to list their email address with their choice in order to cut down on any individual voting multiple times. The public vote will be considered for the final selection, but won't determine the winner. A committee, led by the mayor, is to decide on the final name, then make a recommendation to the city council for approval.

"In a week or so we'll make a proposal," Smith said.

North Little Rock residents were invited by Smith to suggest plaza names starting in October and ending Dec. 1. A committee then chose their favorites. The resident submitting the winning entry is to receive a pass for two for free admission to all public events during the plaza's first year of operation, according to contest rules.

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Construction on the plaza site, on Main Street between Fifth and Sixth streets, is expected to start this spring. The plaza's opening could come by December.

There were 108 suggestions received in the October-December contest. The committee of six then narrowed selections to 19, then to the final six.

The six finalists are heavy on the downtown historic district's Argenta name.

Argenta is the original name of the town that officially merged with a small North Little Rock community in 1904, a legislative maneuver to break Argenta away from being the Eighth Ward of Little Rock, according to North Little Rock history accounts. North Little Rock also changed its name to Argenta in 1906, before changing back to North Little Rock in 1917.

From the original entries, 29 had some derivation on the Argenta name. Seven used Silver, also a reference to the Argenta name which sprang from having silver mines in the area, according to city history.

Silver Dog Crossing not only refers to that portion of the city's history, but also is a reference to "Dogtown," once a slur on the city that has turned into one of affection and civic pride in the last decade or so. An annual "Dogtown Derby" race is held downtown annually, as one example of the meaning turning around.

"I thought there would be more [finalists] that would be outside of the Argenta name," Council Member Debi Ross said.

Smith has said that because the city has, for so many years, invested into giving its downtown a brand -- downtown is also known as the Argenta Arts District -- the plaza was likely to have "Argenta" as part of its final name. Early on during the planning for the plaza, the site was sometimes referred to as the future Argenta Plaza.

"Let's remember that marketing is important here with what we think will work best," Smith said.

Among suggestions that didn't make the final cut were: Dogtown Plaza, Dogtown Digs, Paradise Plaza, North River Plaza, Northshore Plaza, The Landing, Trolley Stop Plaza and Plaza McPlaza Face.

Metro on 02/13/2018

Print Headline: NLR ready for public vote on six finalists to name plaza

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