Main Street El Dorado is working to implement a wish list of projects to help enhance the city’s Central Business District.
One of those projects could be partially covered by a grant that has been awarded by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and will be administered by Main Street Arkansas, said Beth Brumley, executive director of Main Street El Dorado.
During a regular MSE board meeting Tuesday, Brumley said she will travel to Little Rock June 25 for a “big-check” presentation for a Downtown Revitalization Grant.
Though she will not learn the amount of the grant until then, Brumley said a portion of the money could be used to help install an ambient music system for Downtown El Dorado.
The project has been on MSE’s wish list for several months and board members reported that it would cost approximately $25,000 to complete.
MSE has typically received DTRG awards of $15,000.
The grant is used for a variety of downtown projects, including a mini-grant program for downtown businesses to install new awnings, clean existing awnings and other small improvement projects.
Over the years, MSE has also used the grant money to purchase pole banners, benches, trash cans, cigarette urns and sidewalk signs that dot downtown.
More recently, DTRG money helped to make Wi-Fi available in the city’s Central Business District.
Brumley said MSE will likely reach out to local businesses and industries to help sponsor the ambient sound project to fill the square with music.
Main Street is also working with its Design Committee, the city of El Dorado and the South Arkansas Arts Center to launch a crosswalk art project downtown.
Such projects have become a popular trend in urban landscape design and traffic/pedestrian safety in cities across the country, MSE board members said.
Brumley said MSE hopes to get the project off the ground by this summer and would like to use local artists.
Brumley said SAAC is offering guidance and helping to hammer out some of the design details.
“We’re looking to their advice. One thing they told us was that for artists, the ground is a different canvas than a wall or a mural,” Brumley said. “We thought we might commission the first one so we can kind of see how it goes.”
She said other artists would also be able to use the inaugural project as a guide for colors, designs, ideas, etc.
Main Street is also working with the Downtown Business Association and Murphy Arts District to fill and cover the windows of vacant retail spaces with decorative, eye-catching banners and other such materials to help promote Downtown El Dorado.
One of the spaces is the former Golf N Games golf supply store on the corner of Main Street and Jefferson Avenue. Another is the former space for Elm Street Bakery and Rascal’s on the corner of Elm Street and Jefferson.
“We’re trying to get these empty storefronts filled up. The last place we’re looking at is Pat’s Glass,” Brumley said, referring to the storefront on the corner of Main and Hill Avenue.
Under consideration is a color-coded directory pointing visitors to retail shops and restaurants downtown, she said.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or [email protected]