Arkansas Town Without a Downtown Decides to Make One

Leaders of Johnson, Arkansas have decided to upgrade their town by creating an 80-acre, new urbanist-style downtown
June 15, 2017, 1pm PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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City of Johnson, Arkansas

With a plan in place to create a walkable, mixed-use downtown district, Johnson, Arkansas officials are hoping to create the kind of place that will spur new development that will benefit all the residents of the 4,000 person town, allowing the town to compete with neighboring cities. John Magsam of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazettereports that the "instant downtown" will provide a mix of residential and commercial uses close to Interstate 49. The developers' plan includes several new commercial buildings, apartments, cottages and larger homes as part of Phase 1 of the development.

Stephen D. Luoni, director and principal designer at the University of Arkansas Design Center, said the Johnson Square development should be a good fit for the town and Northwest Arkansas as a region and it could be a model for future development...

Luoni said the density of the project makes it attractive as a location for express busing or even light rail should the region develop those transit options in the future.

"This project goes back to how older neighborhoods were developed," Luoni said.

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Published on Monday, June 12, 2017 in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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