Parking space on the streets of downtown El Dorado will get a little tighter over the next several days as city crews begin milling and overlaying streets ahead of the opening of the Murphy Arts District.
Work will commence today at South Washington between Oak and Hillsboro, said Robert Edmonds, director of public works.
Construction activity has been ramping up in recent weeks as time winds down until the grand opening celebration for the new arts and entertainment district on Sept. 27 — Oct. 1.
Phase 1 of the $100 million MAD project is under construction in the area of Cedar, Jefferson, Locust and Hill.
El Dorado Festivals and Events, Inc., a private nonprofit organization, is spearheading the project.
The historic Griffin Auto building on Locust is being transformed into a restaurant and performance venue. An amphitheater and open-air market space have gone up next to the Griffin building.
With the work ongoing, the city had been waiting until construction had advanced to a point where street repairs could commence in the Union Square District.
Mayor Frank Hash had long noted plans to improve streets in the downtown area to complement the new MAD and to prepare for out-of-town visitors who expected to come to El Dorado for MAD events.
However, city officials later referred to some unexpected growing pains — 840,000 of them — that have come with all the new construction.
During an El Dorado City Council meeting in July, city officials learned that infrastructure installation and improvements —including electrical, water and wastewater components — and the use of heavy construction equipment have damaged several streets in and around the MAD perimeter.
Aldermen ultimately agreed to pull $840,000 from the reserve coffers of the city’s street fund to resurface portions of several downtown streets.
“We’re going to get started on Washington (today), milling and cutting,” Edmonds said Wednesday.
Work will then move to Cedar, Hill, Jackson and Jefferson.
“Then Oak and Elm streets will be last. Our goal is to be done by next Friday (Sept. 22),” Edmonds said.
He advised residents that parking in work areas will be limited over the next several days.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.