After a lengthy discussion Thursday, the El Dorado Historic District Commission did not take any action on a Certificate of Appropriateness request for a proposed improvement project at a downtown business.
Instead, commissioners and COA applicant, Jennifer Purinton -- owner of Purely Creative, an art/picture frame shop, formerly Creative Means, at 114 W. Main --, agreed that Purinton would flesh out the details and compile more information about the proposed project.
Purinton submitted a COA that includes repainting an existing awning; painting wooden trim on the building; adding removable wooden shutters to upper-floor window insets; and painting a new mural on a wooden canvass on the west side (Cleveland Avenue) of the building.
The new mural would replace an existing mural and would feature a stream and flora that are native to the area, Purinton said.
COAs are required for most exterior projects within the city's commercial historic district.
Elizabeth Eggleston, executive director of the El Dorado Historic District Commission, noted that the building, which is owned by Trimble Properties, is a contributing structure within the commercial historic district -- meaning that the building is at least 50 years old and has not been significantly altered from its original appearance.
Purinton said the building was constructed in 1925.
She also told commissioners that the upper floor windows were covered two decades ago.
Commissioner Eric Wallace inquired about the type of wood that will be used for the project, if the wood will be treated and how long it will last.
Purinton said the wood will be treated and she was not sure about its shelf life.
"Do they have to be wood or could they be a composite?" Commissioner Steve Biernacki asked.
He referred to a construction trend in which recycled plastic is used to build decks and patios, saying that the material is more durable and weather-resistant than wood.
Commissioners and Purinton also discussed paint colors, with Purinton pointing to hues that closely match the brick of the building -- a design guideline that was referenced by commissioners.
The EHDC also suggested that Purinton consider applying for a mini-grant from Main Street El Dorado to assist with the project.
MSE offers an annual mini-grant program to help downtown business and property owners with improvement projects, such as painting and new awnings.
The grants are funded by Downtown Revitalization Grants that are awarded each year by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program local Main Street and Arkansas Downtown Network programs.
Last year MSE was awarded a $25,000 DTR grant and $15,000 of the amount was allocated for the mini-grant program.
Purinton told EHDC members that she has already spoken to Beth Brumley, executive director of MSE, about the next mini-grant cycle and learned that the application period is expected to open in a few weeks.
She also mentioned issues with a tree and grate on the west side of the building and commissioners advised her to speak with Robert Edmonds, city director of public works, about the matter.
"We're addressing public safety issues (within the commercial historic district) because we don't want anyone to trip or fall and get hurt," Eggleston said later.
During the meeting, Purinton said a decorative bench in front of the store is also cracked and will have to be removed at some point because of safety risks.
EHDC chairman Ken Bridges inquired about a timeline for the Purely Creative project and Purinton said she is working to gather cost estimates and other details for the various components of the project.
"Let's let her go back and get her checklist and bring it back to us," Commissioner Sara Coffman suggested. "It's crazy to do bits and pieces of it and not get the whole thing done."
Added Bridges, "All that stuff together is also what you'd want to put on your (mini-grant) application."
Coffman told Purinton that she hopes the work is completed by next February, explaining that El Dorado his hosting the 2023 Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism.
Coffman is part of a local committee that is working with the state to organize and coordinate the conference, which will be held in El Dorado for the first time in the nearly 50-year history of the event.
"I would love to get this done as soon as possible," Purinton said.