Fayetteville’s “Cultural Arts Corridor,” a landscaping and development project funded by a bond package passed by Fayetteville voters in 2019 and by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation, will be renamed The Ramble. It’s described by organizers as “an outdoor destination featuring parks, forest, trails, boardwalks, tree-lined sidewalks, terraced creeks and gathering spaces,” which will offer “year-round opportunities for community engagement, entertainment and civic activity.” Feelings about the project’s impact on the city are mixed.

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The work is to be conducted in two phases, and will eventually connect the Walton Arts Center, TheatreSquared, Nadine Baum Studios, Fayetteville Public Library, and the University of Arkansas’ Art and Design District with trails and pedestrian/cyclist connections. It is slated for completion by January 2024. Phase one of the project began in September 2020, and includes “improvements to the Fay Jones Woods, Razorback Greenway Improvements, and West Avenue Civic Space, plus replacement parking,’ while Phase two creates the “West Avenue Civic Plaza” between Dickson and Spring streets, filling in a city block with a “central lawn, promenade, art gardens, trails and more.”

From the press release:

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… The Ramble is characterized as: a full embrace of the journey…not in a hurry to get from point A to point B, but rather, open to possibility…the concept falls nicely in sync with the cadence of a walk or a bike ride, spontaneous conversation, outdoor installations and gathering spaces.

Additionally, The Ramble is a nod to Arkansas-born musician and actor Levon Helm. A former member of The Band, Helm hosted Midnight Ramble sessions in a barn on his property in Woodstock, New York, until his death in 2012.