UALR Tries Again For Federal Funding To Improve University Avenue

Apr 28, 2016

Photo of University Avenue taken for KUAR's coverage of the 2015 TIGER grant application.
Credit David Monteith / KUAR

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is making a second attempt at a federal grant that would bring an estimated $14.5 million for renovations on University Avenue.

The school's application for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation was unsuccessful in 2015. UALR's chief government relations officer, Joni Lee, said she's hopeful a few changes will yield a positive result this year.

"We got very good reviews on our project," said Lee, "but we just weren't quite to the point of being successful enough to have an award made. But we did get fairly good evaluations from the TIGER team in DC and they encouraged us to go back and hopefully make some adjustments and reapply. That's what we're doing now."

According to the Department of Transportation website, TIGER discretionary grants "will be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region."

Lee said the University Avenue proposal is intended to make the thoroughfare more pedestrian and bike friendly as well as making it more attractive to local businesses and investors. One of the biggest revisions made to last year's proposal was the removal of proposed roundabouts.

"We went back to the drawing board and kind of looked at those areas again and decided that maybe the use of roundabouts in this particular project wasn't really necessary to achieve what we were wanting to, to get the more Complete Streets effect, so we took the roundabouts out," said Lee.

Applications for TIGER grants are due Friday. Award notifications are expected in late 2016.