Friday, February 26, 2010

Downtown Ozark in Talk Business Quarterly

TBQ Staff Writer

Craig Ferguson, the Scotland native who hosts The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, cracks blue and cutting jokes about presidents, popes and pretty much anything.

Except for Ozark, Arkansas.

Which says all you need to know about the Franklin County city of a little more than 3,500 people nestled comfortably and strategically between the Arkansas River, a major east-west Union Pacific rail route and Interstate 40.

And, seriously, Ferguson told David Letterman during an April 2007 Letterman show he stopped in the "lovely town" of Ozark where he first ate catfish. Ozark Mayor Vernon McDaniels sent Ferguson - who was not yet a naturalized U.S. citizen - a letter making him an honorary Ozark citizen.

The problem with Ferguson's "lovely town" moniker is that it's not good enough. The city has the potential to be a booming, dynamic city within the larger Fort Smith metropolitan area, says Jo Alice Blondin, Yvonne Case, Royce Gattis, Sandy Key and Eddie Melton.

Case, Franklin County administrator for the Arkansas Department of Human Services, says the city has several groups with "strong and realistic visions that are poised to make big things happen." All that's needed, Case advises, is an event or leader or group to "instill the art of compromise" and get all the groups to work together.

"We need to get one big thing done and we're on the cusp," Case said. "We're right there, but we have to win that first race."

Some of the groups and projects include Main Street Ozark, an effort by Gattis to construct an up to $15 million east-west collector street between downtown Ozark and 1-40, academic support for the school district, facilitating tourism growth and continued support of the Ozark campus of Russellville-based Arkansas Tech University. All of those things and more - including better broadband service ­are not just about internal socio-economic improvements.

"We can and need to be in the world market here in Ozark, Arkansas," Case said.

Population 3,525 (2000 census) Median household income $30,436

Melton, executive vice president in Ozark for Little Rock ­based Bank of the Ozarks, says the agri-based town ­poultry, cattle, grapes/wine - was once insulated from recessions. This one has been tough, but the "hard-working community adjusted to the times," he said. Melton's office windows provide a view of a multi-million dollar data center the bank has under construction. The data center jobs ­supported by ATU-Ozark programs - will help bolster a city posting a 3.2% decline in sales tax collections in the first 10 months of 2009.

Tourism growth also is the point of a roughly $11 million Main Street Ozark plan that would completely alter the city's physical and fiscal landscape, according to Main Street Ozark Director Sandy Key. The plan includes a multi-use riverfront pavilion, marina and dock that would be part of a larger River-to-Rails statewide tourism effort. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission provided a $500,000 grant to get the project through some early phases.

Possibly the boldest effort is the collector street plan pushed by Royce Gattis, who left Ozark in 1959 for the U.S. Air Force and returned in the early 1990s to an Ozark he believed could use the real estate experience he gained in Denver. The collector street would stretch several miles between the two arterial roads - Arkansas 23 and 219 ­that connect U.S. 64 through Ozark to 1-40. The new street would open up hundreds of acres for residential, commercial and industrial development.

"We've figured, based on past growth, that this street would open up enough land for 247 years of growth needs," Gattis said.

Blondin, chancellor of ATU-Ozark, says the people in Ozark think beyond the city's size. She's the first to admit the obstacles are huge, and the first to caution a visitor to not bet against them.

"These people, I tell you, they are solid with those (plans), and they will keep pushing, like Gattis with that street. I wouldn't discount them, not at all," Blondin said. 1BQ

Monday, February 22, 2010

Main Street Arkansas Update - February 22, 2010

Main Street Arkansas Calendar February 22 - 26, 2010
MONDAY Susan - Paragould
TUESDAY Quarterly Training – 1st Floor Conference Room 323 Center Street
WEDNESDAY all staff – Texarkana Rypkema’s White Elephant Workshop
THURSDAY all staff – Texarkana Rypkema’s White Elephant Workshop
FRIDAY Caroline – out

Main Street Matters
The Ruse of the Creative Class
Texarkana Workshop Press
Broadband USA & Connect Arkansas
Most Endangered Nominations Accepted
Smart Growth Award

Main Street Matters
- nice MSA mention.

The Ruse of the Creative Class?

Texarkana Workshop Press

Broadband USA & Connect Arkansas

Connect Arkansas has been designated as the state lead for broadband stimulus proposals, and we are asking organizations submitting their own application to forward the final submitted PDF to Connect Arkansas to be included in the Governor's review and prioritization of proposals for the NTIA.

Please forward proposals to mstockman at by March 19th.
Connect Arkansas is writing the collaborative state-wide Sustainable Broadband Adoption application. If your organization is interested in participating in this application, please contact Connect Arkansas by Feb. 24th.


The Historic Preservation Alliance requests your help in identifying endangered historic places that reflect our Arkansas Heritage for the 2010 Most Endangered Places List.
The Arkansas’s Most Endangered Historic Places list highlights threats facing historically and architecturally significant properties throughout the state. The Alliance is soliciting nominations from residents and organizations across Arkansas of endangered places to be considered for inclusion in the list. The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, April 16 2010.
The Alliance launched Arkansas’s Most Endangered Historic Places in 1999 to raise awareness of the importance of Arkansas’s historic properties to the state's heritage. The sites reflect threats such as deterioration, neglect, insufficient funds, insensitive public policy and inappropriate development. The Alliance will compile the 2010 list of Arkansas's Most Endangered Historic Places from nominations by the public and the list will be announced in May during Arkansas Heritage Month and National Preservation Month.
Previous places listed include the Johnny Cash Family Home in Dyess, Ray Winder Field in Little Rock, Bluff Shelter Archaeological Sites in Northwest Arkansas, the Goddard Hotel in Hot Springs, the Faulkner County Courthouse, the Stephen H. Chism House in Booneville, and the 20th Century African-American Rosenwald Schools throughout the state.
Criteria for inclusion in the list of Arkansas’s Most Endangered Historic Places includes a property's eligibility for the National or Arkansas Register of Historic Places; the degree of a property's local, state, or national significance; and the imminence and degree of the threat to the property.
For more information or a nomination form, visit , call Rhea Roberts at (501) 372.4757 or email mostendangered at .
The Historic Preservation Alliance is the leading statewide non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Arkansas's architectural and cultural heritage. For more information about the Alliance and becoming a member, contact Vanessa at (501) 372-4757, vmckuin at , or visit .

Smart Growth Award
Applications are now being accepted for the 2010 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. This competition is open to public- and private-sector entities that have successfully used smart growth principles to improve communities environmentally, socially, and economically. The application period is open from February 8, 2010 to April 5, 2010. Up to five awards will be given in the following
• Programs, Policies, and Regulations
• Smart Growth and Green Building
• Civic Places
• Rural Smart Growth
• Overall Excellence

More information at, or see attached announcement.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Main Street Arkansas Update - February 16, 2010

Mark your calendar for Destination Downtown - September 13-15, New Iberia, LA

Main Street Arkansas Calendar February 15 - 19, 2010
MONDAY office closed in honor of Presidents’ Day
TUESDAY Cary, Greg, Nancy – West Memphis (4-Point Training); Mark – Batesville, Hardy
THURSDAY Caroline, Susan – Heber Springs (social media workshop)
FRIDAY Cary – Batesville

Main Street Texarkana Press
Dreams of Light Rail in NW AR
MST on Flickr
Downtown LR Photo Contest
AR Consolidated Plan Survey
The Newest Thing in Social Media?
UA Architectural Students Help Revitalize Neighborhood

Main Street Texarkana Introduces New Board Members

Dreams of Light Rail in NW Arkansas

Main Street Texarkana on Flickr

Downtown LR Photo Contest

Arkansas Consolidated Plan Survey

The Newest Thing in Social Media? - Google Buzz
-I’m on it & it hasn’t lit my fire yet. I also have Google Wave & remain underwhelmed

UA Architectural Students Building Home to Help Revitalize Neighborhood
- subscriber only, sorry

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Main Street Arkansas Update - February 1, 2010

Congratulations to Main Street El Dorado, Rogers & Batesville on their numerous Festival Association wins today

Reminder - February Quarterly Training NEXT WEEK

Our next quarterly training will be in Little Rock, February 9-10, 2010. You should have received both email & hard copy information about the training. Let us know if you have questions.

Main Street Arkansas Calendar February 1 - 5, 2010
MONDAY Cary, Caroline & Greg – AR Festivals Assoc Conf
TUESDAY Cary – Monticello (ADN Presentation); Susan - Paragould
WEDNESDAY Cary – Batesville (program assessment); Susan - Paragould
THURSDAY Susan – Russellville
FRIDAY Greg, Susan – Searcy; Nancy – off

MSWM Selected for NEA Your Town Workshop
Batesville Winter Gala – delayed due to weather
Kim Wilson Receives Honor
EPA Grant
Show on Historic Sites
Blytheville Branding
Non-Profit’s Role in the 2010 Census
Downtown Walnut Ridge Press

Main Street West Memphis was selected last week as a 2010 Your Town Workshop Winner. Your Town is a National Endowment for the Arts program that responds to the design needs of small towns and rural areas
For more information visit

Batesville Winter Gala Press

Kim Wilson of Main Street Hardy Receives Chamber Honor

New EPA Grant Available
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making $2 million available in 2010 to reduce pollution at the local level through the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. CARE is a community-based program that works with county and local governments, tribes, non-profit organizations and universities to help the public understand and reduce toxic risks from numerous sources. Applications for the CARE grants are due March 9, 2010. EPA will conduct three Webcasts to answer questions from prospective applicants about the application process on Feb. 2, 23, and 26 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

What Celeb Do You Want Hosting a Show on Historic Sites?
Why Larry the Cable Guy, of course

Blytheville Branding

Non-Profit’s Role in the 2010 Census

Downtown Walnut Ridge Press