Arkadelphia: Things Looking Up In Downtown Rebirth (Main Street Preservation | Winner 5,000-20,000)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 12:00 am  

“Overwhelmingly, those surveyed responded that Arkadelphia’s downtown area needed a renewed focus,” Gregory said.

The class then applied for downtown Arkadelphia to become part of the Arkansas Downtown Network, which is a division of Main Street Arkansas and is focused on revitalizing downtowns. It was recently accepted into the program.

Downtown Arkansas will promote events such as concerts and movies on Main Street, Gregory said. It’s the first time there has been a group to coordinate those types of events.

“That’s what’s making [downtown] successful, people are coming together and making a joint effort to see it succeed,” she said.

In August 2011, the Arkadelphia Commercial Historic District, which has buildings that date to around the 1870s, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Each building not only has its own history, but its four walls are a testament to the durability of early construction techniques and quality building materials,” the Arkadelphia Commercial Historic District said in a news release.

“This collection of buildings serves first as a reminder to Arkadelphians of the town’s rich history. … These buildings foster a sense of pride in one’s heritage and a reason to pursue the preservation of Arkadelphia’s structures.”

Gregory said that while there are a few vacant buildings, downtown Arkadelphia has a mix of banks, nonprofit organizations and stores.

“Retail has come back in the last couple of years and small businesses are taking a chance on downtown,” she said.

Gregory said that since residents voted in 2010 to allow alcohol sales, a number of restaurants have opened downtown and the businesses expanded their hours of operation.

A streetscape project is in the works that will add trees, planters, decorative brick crosswalks and historic streetlamps to the area. She said she hopes that project is completed next year.

“While our success story is still in the making, we will grow confidently and steadily to become a leader in southwest Arkansas,” Gregory said.



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