OPINION - Editorial

Editorial notebook: Something new every week

While some politicians bog down with fights over who gets to use which bathroom, or what books should remain in the library, North Little Rock’s Argenta district simply moves forward with actual work government was meant to do.

We took a drive into North Little Rock not too many Friday nights ago to see Tedeschi Trucks. They absolutely killed it. But what may have been most impressive was our time in Argenta before the concert. There seems to be something new every week.

As we took the Broadway Bridge into North Little Rock with its white arches towering above us, we couldn’t help but look up and down the river at the six bridges that are something of a hallmark for the Little Rock/North Little Rock community. Threatening skies loomed overhead, but it was clear the Arkansas Travelers were still planning to make a go of it that night with lights beaming and baseball fans milling around the gates.

We parked in a lot on West Broadway and paid all of $5 (by text message) to keep our car there until midnight. The concert didn’t start until eight, so we stopped in at Skinny J’s for a snack. We were about 15th or 20th on the list for a table in the overflowing sports bar/ restaurant.

Not only was it crowded inside, but all the tables on the sidewalk were also taken. We didn’t look inside Flyway Brewery, but we assume it was full, too, because it was impossible not to notice the horde of people enjoying the brewery in the outside area. We were among the many who walked past Argenta Drug Company, the oldest continuously operating drugstore west of the Mississippi.

The whole area was hoppin’ and poppin’ and to be clear, most were not there to see Tedeschi Trucks, nor were they afraid of a little rain. They were just there enjoying life and the neighborhood feel of Argenta. Of course, it has a neighborhood feel because the whole area is flanked by a neighborhood of townhouses just off Main Street to the west.

Argenta is the kind of place corporate executives should bring young recruits to convince them that Central Arkansas is a cool place to live.

The paper reports that on Monday night, the North Little Rock City Council approved the sale of the former Greyhound Bus Station on Washington Avenue to Makan Hospitality Management for $620,650. Makan’s plan is to build a 14-story, “high-end boutique style” hotel with three floors of luxury condominiums, retail and office space and a rooftop bar. The Colcord in Oklahoma City, The Mayo in Tulsa, and others immediately come to mind.

With Simmons Bank Arena for games and concerts, the Rev Room and Riverfest Amphitheater as additional music venues (just a streetcar ride away across the river), a hip, upscale hotel is just what the doctor ordered to take Argenta to the next level.

The cherry on top would be to remove the asphalt surface of Main Street and replace it with some type of Arkansas specific brick surface to really bring it home. The sky is the limit for Argenta and that’s good for both sides of the river.

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