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November 12, 2018
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Former Main Street Board president announces his candidacy for alderman

By Tia Lyons
This article was published January 10, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

Main Street El Dorado kicked off 2018 Tuesday by discussing upcoming events and plans for the new year, including a special announcement from one of its board members.

Paul Choate, immediate past president of the MSE board, said he is looking to serve the community in another way.

Just prior to the end of the MSE’s first regular board meeting of the year on Tuesday, Choate announced his candidacy for alderman of Ward 4.

Additional information, including which of the two Ward 4 seats Choate will seek, is forthcoming, he said.

It will be Choate’s second El Dorado city council campaign, having posted a respectable showing in the race for the Ward 4, Position 1 seat in 2012.

He was edged out by opponent and current Ward 4 Alderman Mary McAdams.

“I truly believe my 10 years of working with this group has prepared me to step into the city council chamber,” Choate told MSE board members Tuesday.

The city supports the local Main Street program with a contract for services that helps to cover the salary of the MSE executive director.

Aldermen approved the 2018 city budget last week, agreeing to fund Main Street at the same as 2017 — $35,000.

Choate thanked the city, corporate partners, local businesses and individuals for their support of MSE, noting that he was in the midst of his second term as president of the board when executive director Beth Brumley was hired in April 2017.

“She hit the ground running and helped with what I thought was going to be a tough year for me,” Choate said.

“I’m excited and energized by what I’ve seen over the past eight or nine months,” he continued. “I recognize the importance of the Main Street El Dorado program, and that will always be taken into consideration.”

Upcoming events and projects

Brumley said Main Street is looking forward to upcoming events for 2018, including several construction projects that are planned for Downtown El Dorado.

Improvement and restoration projects are planned for:

• 215 E. Main, formerly Pat’s Glass, which calls for the demolition of the existing three-story building and construction of a new one with the same footprint.

The project, which is being helmed by Pete Dunn, a Virginia-based real estate developer and MSE advisory board member who has taken on other major restoration projects in the city, including the El Dorado Federal Center and the Armstrong Building, home to PJ’s Coffee and the El Dorado Creamery.

The new building will be a mix of commercial space on the first floor and five, extended-stay residential units on the upper level.

• 116 E. Elm, former site of Elm Street Bakery. Work is expected to begin this year on a new restaurant that will move into the location.

• 313 - 315 E. Main, which will be converted into a single-family residential unit. The building is next door to Stone and Sawyer PLLC law firm.

• 103 - 115 S. Washington, the former state revenue office and most recently, the MAD ticket office.

The building will be restored to accommodate new commercial tenants, one of which is Cole’s Jewelers.

MSE board vice president Buddy McAdams is co-owner of the property.

Brumley said work is also planned for the building at 201 - 203 E. Main, which formerly housed Golf N Games.

As of now, the only two vacant commercial properties within the Main Street district are the upper-floor space that formerly housed Pandora’s Lounge, 104 E. Cedar, and the former Art Attack at 400 W. Main, Brumley said.

In other business, Brumley reported that MSE will soon meet with the Murphy Arts District to discuss possible partnerships for this year.

Last year, Main Street and MAD joined together to host MusicFest, MSE’s flagship fundraiser, and the grand opening weekend of MAD.

With the inception of MAD, Main Street agreed to allow the private, nonprofit organization to take the lead in bringing entertainment to El Dorado.

MSE aboard members said they will look at ways to partner with MAD, while also focusing on economic restructuring, organization and design — which, along with promotion, make up the Main Street’s four-point approach to downtown revitalization and vitality.

Main Street is still working out the details on a possible show to be presented in March in the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium.

Brumley said plans are not yet finalized for the show.

New officers and board members

Newly minted MSE board members and officers also attended their first MSE regular meeting in their respective positions on Tuesday.

The positions were approved during the MSE December meeting, which was held in conjunction with the group’s Christmas party.

New officers are: Bruce Butterfield, president; McAdams, vice president; Amelia Phillips, secretary; and Carl Silvis, treasurer.

The board installed Phillips as secretary on Tuesday.

Serving their first terms as MSE board members are Phillips of LanXess (formerly Great Lakes); Kristy Hayden of Delek (formerly Lion Oil); Jeff Henderson of Andy’s; Debbie Harbour of AL Franks Engineering; and Charlie Skinner of GenWealth.

Plaques were presented to board members Debbie Clarke and Melody Morrow, both of whom moved to advisory board positions.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.

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