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Major changes coming to downtown Batesville | Arts & Culture

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Major changes coming to downtown Batesville
Major changes coming to downtown Batesville

BATESVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) – Main Street in downtown Batesville has changed a lot over recent years, but its biggest change could be coming soon. Main Street Batesville, an organization dedicated to revitalizing Main Street and downtown, has revealed plans for a new streetscape that is intended to increase foot traffic, encourage visits to the area, and bring in new businesses.

Joel Williams, executive director of Main Street Batesville, explained that the street scape is only in its beginning stages right now, and board members are trying to raise funds for the project before it goes into full swing. Main Street Batesville recently invited the city’s residents to the area to show them how the layout will work and get feedback on the project. Williams said about 70 percent of the people surveyed approved of the changes, and some of the final plans will be tweaked based on the response they received.

The streetscape will feature a number of different concepts intended to increase foot traffic and safety. First, Main Street will narrow to a one-lane road with an s-curve to both slow traffic to the intended speed limit and deter damage to vehicles traveling through. Next, the extra space will be absorbed by larger walking areas and more parking spaces, increasing parking availability by between 30 and 35 percent, according to Williams.

New businesses and restorations are already springing up along Main Street. New businesses include BIG’s (Editor’s note: I had lunch here while visiting. Their Reubens are phenomenal!), Electric Wonderland, Kim and Company Salon, Small and Hip Children’s Boutique, and an expansion on the Paperchase Bookstore. A farmer’s market also appears on the second Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to noon, providing the main staple of fresh produce in addition to a few fun activities—last week featured music artist Danny Dozier, children’s activities, yoga, and cooking demonstration.

This plan was made possible through a consultant, and similar streetscapes have been extremely successful elsewhere, including Fayetteville, added Williams. This project so far and future construction is made possible by private donations, grants, and future foundation funds. Williams stressed that absolutely no tax money is tied up in the streetscape.

If you are interested in contributing to the project, a Beatles Tribute featuring Danny Dozier’s Talented Lockhouse Orchestra, will happen June 21 at Landers Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at area banks and the Chamber of Commerce; all proceed will benefit Main Street Batesville (More info: http://on.kthv.com/1pIVyEv). You can also donate at the Main Street Batesville website: http://on.kthv.com/SUiJNx

More events coming up include the following:

  • July 14-19: Main Street Lemonade Stand open during Independence County Fair. Located behind entertainment pavilion.
  • Sept. 27: Batesville, Bikes, and Backroads on Main Street. Features games, poker run, bug run, entertainment, and bike show.
  • Oct. 18, 25: Haunted House on Main Street. Details to be announced.
  • Oct. 17-18: Octoberfest and an Antique Craft Show on Main Street. Features craft vendors and open houses; music and activities all day.
  • Oct. 31: Fun and Safe Halloween on Main Street. Happens Halloween night; includes costume contest.
  • Nov. 7-8: Merchants of Main Street Batesville will have an open house. Beat the shopping crowds, and support small business!
  • Dec. 12-13:  Old-Fashioned Downtown Christmas. Features Santa and expansive train display.

You can find more information on Main Street Batesville’s website (http://www.mainstreetbatesville.org) and on their Facebook Page (http://on.kthv.com/1pgOsUa).

(If you are on the mobile version of this website, you can find photos and a pamphlet on the proposed streetscape on our desktop version.)

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