Main Street Arkansas cities recorded $68,731,656 in investments in downtown projects in 2017.
Main Street Arkansas is a part of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Cities involved in Main Street Arkansas are Batesville, Blytheville, Conway, Dumas, El Dorado, Eureka Springs, Helena-West Helena, Jonesboro, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Little Rock’s South Main Street, Osceola, Ozark, Paragould, Rogers, Russellville, Searcy, Siloam Springs, Texarkana and West Memphis. Members of Main Street’s Arkansas Downtown Network are Hardy, Pine Bluff, Heber Springs, Fort Smith, Morrilton, Rector, Monticello, Arkadelphia, Clarksville, Warren, Wynne, Forrest City, Malvern, Pocahontas, Newport and Paris. Other sponsors of the Main Street Arkansas program are Preserve Arkansas and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
“Investments in the historic commercial cores of our Main Street Arkansas towns show a renewed commitment to historic preservation around the state and the investments shown in 2017 show downtowns are major centers of economic development,” Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst said.
Main Street Arkansas cities in 2017 noted 215 facade renovations, building rehabilitations and new downtown construction projects, reflecting investments of nearly $69 million.
“The cities documented a net gain of 54 businesses and 37 business expansions and relocations into downtown areas, creating a net gain of 522 jobs,” according to the release. “In addition, there were 35 public improvement projects generated in Main Street Arkansas cities, reflecting $1,528,038 invested in the historic commercial areas. Main Street cities also recorded 20,856 volunteer hours invested in downtown.”
The program began in 1984. Since that time, Main Street Arkansas cities have yielded a net gain of 7,085 jobs, a net gain of 1,367 new businesses and 1,239 business expansions and relocations into downtown,” according to the release.
“A total of $246,576,733 in investment has financed 2,576 facade renovations, rehabilitations and new construction projects. The Main Street cities have seen 1,009 public improvement projects valued at $35,224,887 and 634,170 volunteer hours on Main Street matters,” according to the release.
Main Street Arkansas provides technical assistance and design services to help create economic development in the downtown areas. The Main Street approach to downtown revitalization focuses on four areas: design, economic restructuring, organization and promotion.