What's Happening on Arkansas' Main Streets

January 01, 2005
Downtown Rogers, Arkansas
Improvements to downtown Rogers in northwest Arkansas garnered the town a 2004 Great American Main Street Award.

Community Receives Accolades from National Organization

Rogers, Ark., was one of five cities in the country to win a Great American Main Street Award in 2004. The award was presented to the Main Street Rogers program for its success in promoting economic growth and revitalizing the city's downtown area. Rogers is the first Main Street Arkansas community to win the award.

Through its Downtown Recruitment Program, Main Street Rogers brought 40 new businesses to the area between 2002 and 2003. Currently, occupancy rates for retail space are at 98 percent and 95 percent for office space. Upscale residential housing has been developed in restored upper floors of commercial buildings, and additional restaurants are making renovations and will open soon.

Rogers has seen almost $12 million in downtown investment and reinvestment. Main Street Rogers' Preferred Loan Program offers a total of $4.5 million in loans from nine participating banks as well as a mini-grant program.

Main Street Rogers has helped secure five Main Street Arkansas Model Business Grants for large projects. Additional activities include developing a debit/gift card program for downtown stores and sponsoring small business seminars through its business consulting services.

For more information, contact Marge Wolf, Main Street Rogers executive director, at mwolf@rogersark.org or by phone at (479) 936-5487.

Delta Initiative Focuses on Cultural Heritage

Main Street Arkansas, in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, recently announced the Arkansas Delta Initiative, a plan to implement strategies for preservation-based economic revitalization. The plan calls for a comprehensive, integrated approach that emphasizes the common cultural heritage of five communities in the Arkansas Delta: Blytheville, Dumas, Helena, Osceola and West Memphis.

Small Business logo  
The Community Affairs staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is focusing its efforts on small business and entrepreneurship during 2004 and 2005.  

A national assessment team developed four short-term recommendations to direct the plan. They include: enhancing the region's cultural heritage tourism by building on its blues and music heritage events along with other heritage themes; building business opportunities around local crafts and skills rather than competing with retail giants; improving housing in historic neighborhoods; and taking advantage of planning tools that protect the region's unique architecture, cultural heritage and human talents.

For more information, contact Main Street Arkansas at (501) 324-9880 or by e-mail: info@arkansaspreservation.org.

Bridges is a regular review of regional community and economic development issues. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the St. Louis Fed or Federal Reserve System.

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