Thursday, May 27, 2010

Postcard Past: Early Snapshots of Texarkana

The Main Street Texarkana in Black and White postcard exhibit is traveling throughout the Texarkana community this year. It is currently on display at the Wadley Regional Hospital lobby, in downtown Texarkana. After that, it will travel to Texas A & M University. A few highlights from the collection:

In the early 1900s, elephants paraded down Broad Street, triumphantly announcing the arrival of a circus. The photograph features many of Texarkana’s well-known early 20th century businesses, such as the Palace Bar, Erber Jewelers, and the Boyd Drug Store.

Downtown Texarkana owes its duality or “split personality” to the Texas & Pacific and the Cairo & Fulton railroads, which sold town lots in Texas and Arkansas, respectively, in the early 1870s. Still today, Texarkana is literally two different towns in two separate counties in two states. After the city’s founding in 1874, its citizens came from countries all over the world, including Italy, Ireland, England, Russia and Eastern Europe. The area was especially appealing for its rich timberland and the railroad industry.

The city of Texarkana became very modern when Western Union Telegraph Company opened its office on 114 E. Broad Street, in 1910. This early photograph shows that the company had a staff of as many as 13 people, six of whom delivered telegrams by bicycle. The sole female in the photograph worked as a stenographer, one of the new career options open to women at the time.

The Jefferson Coffee Shop, a popular spot in the 1930s, had a unique Mediterranean-influenced exterior, featuring a turret and a low-angle roofline, accented with corbelled brickwork and tiles. Entering the arched front doorway, one stepped into a beautiful interior of medallion-patterned floor tiles, a long counter lined with stools, and café tables dotted with fresh bouquets of flowers. Next to the front register was a display case of premium choice cigars.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

5 Things To Do: Downtown Batesville

Batesville's claim to fame is that it's the second oldest town in Arkansas. It also has one of the most well-established Main Street programs in the state (since 1985), and you'll find the downtown and surrounding residential neighborhood to have a great character, with spectacularly restored homes and buildings. There's plenty to see in an afternoon there.

Whether you're headed to Branson, Missouri, the White River or other nearby attractions, be sure to stop by our downtown favorites. If you're itching to take a day trip from Central Arkansas, the drive to Batesville is a scenic hilly country drive with plenty of flea markets and antique stores along the way. Oh, and be sure to exit at Bald Knob for a home made strawberry or peach milkshake at the Bull Dog, depending on what's in season.

5 Things: Batesville

1. View the exhibits at the Old Independence Regional Museum (380 South 9th Street) and step inside replicas of rustic log cabins and a mid 20th century Phillips 66 gas station.

2. Visit Paper Chase Book Store (136 West Main), one of the remaining family owned book stores in Arkansas. Buy some books (new and used), read them, the sell them back to the store.

3. Have lunch at the pocket park downtown and soak up the sunshine.

4. Enjoy delicious homemade ice cream and lemonade at Elizabeth's (321 East Main).

5. Shop fabric and antiques along Main Street. Quilters and Crafters: don't miss out on the bargains at Marshall Dry Goods, located on the western-most end of Main Street, which has one of the largest selections of fabric in the state.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Downtown West Memphis is Changing Overnight

Main Street Arkansas staff are meeting with the city of West Memphis and the local main street program to work on their facade program on the 800 and 900 block of Broadway. This program allows the city--through easements--to restore the historic character of the facades of the buildings, block by block, on Broadway. It's dramatically changing the look of downtown West Memphis. Main Street Arkansas design staff assist by creating concept drawings using design software, of the made over buildings. Pictured above is an example of such a drawing.

State staff will also meet with new retail merchants planning to open shop in downtown West Memphis.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Main Street Arkansas May 24-28, 2010

Next Quarterly Meeting will be July 20-22. Details to follow

Main Street Arkansas Calendar May 24-28, 2010



TUESDAY Susan and Mark – West Memphis

WEDNESDAY Susan - Russellville





State Department Transportation Funding Opportunity

Main Street Arkansas staff attended a seminar this week about the State Highway Department’s Transportation Enhancement Funds. This is the first year in at least a decade that these funds—totaling $7 million, are available to a wide range of projects, including streetscape and sidewalk improvements, the rehabilitation of historic transportation buildings such as train depots, landscaping projects, and bicycle and pedestrian trails and facilities. The application deadline is August 25,th 2010, and you will find the application at To view how these funds have been used nationally, please see the National Transportation Enhancement Clearing House web site:

There’s a lot we can learn from Detroit

Despite its 30% unemployment rate and blighted neighborhoods, the story of how the city will come back is worth keeping our eyes on. There’s been a lot of press this month on how this city’s fighting back. Latino businesses are filling Main Street and thriving and there are several initiatives in the works to help get the city back up on its feet, such as The Greening of Detroit urban garden program, the local food scene and an urban arts program. To read about these programs see:

NPR’s story, “Latino Businesses Flourish in Detroit” is here:

Eight Strategic Mistakes with Memberships

If you have members (whether those members fit the legal definition of member or not), chances are you're making at least one of these strategic mistakes identified by Ellis Robinson. With striking clarity she points the way not only to building your membership rolls, but to understanding your membership as your constituency:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Main Street Arkansas Welcomes Monticello

Greg and Caroline are headed to Southeast Arkansas this afternoon to formally welcome Monticello to the Arkansas Downtown Network. The town was incorporated in 1852 in honor of Thomas Jefferson, and flourished in its early days in the forestry industry and agriculture--at one time it was even called the "Tomato Capital of the World."

Over the past decades (as was happening all over the country), commercial development spread to the highway, drawing attention away from the downtown square. However, with its new membership to Main Street, Monticello has big plans to revitalize its charming downtown-- among them restoring a hotel, improving the street scape, and rehabilitating the beautiful historic buildings.

Among the services and benefits ADN cities receive are access to Main Street Arkansas’s quarterly trainings, organizational assistance, assistance from Main Street design and small business staff, and access to the Main Street resource center.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Boutique in Searcy gets makeover

Main Street Arkansas Design consultant Susan Shaddox worked with the owner of the Boutique, in downtown Searcy, to redesign the back entrance of her store, used more frequently by customers who park in the rear.

What's different: They took off the dingy facade to expose the original brick exterior. Shaddox also placed 2 bright turquoise shutters to conceal the electrical boxes and added lighting to expose the business at night. Shaddox's work is complimentary to the Boutique because of Main Street Searcy's membership to the Main Street Arkansas program.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

5 Things to Do: El Dorado, Arkansas

El Dorado, a Main Street Arkansas town in Southeast Arkansas, has a charming and quirky downtown that feels more Louisiana than Arkansas. Known for its happening music and art scene, its street corners are dotted with locally made sculptures, among them 5-foot tall Les Paul guitar replicas, reshaped and recycled oil drums, and a shiny red antique telephone booth brought over from England. Whether you're passing through or staying overnight in El Dorado, be sure to stop by these downtown favorites.


1. Pay homage to El Dorado’s boom-town history by visiting Oil and Heritage Park. Climb gigantic oil wheels and shake hands with larger-than-life oilmen statues. After that, relax next door at Marilyn's, a new cafe in the newly restored Rialto Theater.

2. Good Eats:
A meat loaf sandwich and a gourmet salad at Fayrays (110 E Elm St)
Crawfish and homemade fudge at La Bella's (101 E. Main)
Armadillo Eggs at Main Street Pizza (101 N. Jackson)

3. Boutique Shopping
Find Steve Madden Shoes and other trendy brands at Shelley's Shoes (115 North Jefferson)
Uggs, Patagonia, North Face brand clothing at the Sports Alley (107 E. Cedar)

4. Play a game of pool at Hills, the region's oldest pool-hall (205 E. Cedar)

5. Stay at the luxurious Union Square Guest Quarters in the heart of downtown. They're spacious, beautifully decorated rooms with balconies that overlook a peaceful courtyard and fountain area. Complimentary breakfast served in a dolled-up train car (220 E. Main,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Main Street Arkansas Update - May 10, 2010

As many of you know, I will be out of the office from May 15 – June 24. I am fortunate to be chosen as a member of a Rotary Group Study Exchange team that will visit central Italy during that period. I am very grateful to my bosses for allowing me to be gone such an extended period of time. I’m also grateful to our staff that will pick up the slack in my absence. I don’t know how much I’ll be able to check my email during my absence and it’s cost prohibitive to take a cell phone. If you’re interested, I’ll be blogging about my travels at: when there’s Internet availability.

Next Quarterly Meeting – July 21-22. Details to follow

Main Street Arkansas Calendar May 10-14, 2010
TUESDAY Tourism Rally, State Capitol
WEDNESDAY Advisory Board Meeting – New ADN city selection
THURSDAY Most Endangered Places Announcement/Preservation Libations
FRIDAY Caroline – out

Great KATV Video Coverage of Downtown Helena
Loan Fund Designated to Boost Revitalization of Downtown Helena
IRS Regs Change for NonProfits
Main Street Hardy/MSA Press
Formation of a Council of Arkansas NonProfits
Nominate Outstanding Volunteers
Back to the City/Cul de Sacs
Farmers Market Stuff
Conference Scholarship Opportunity
6 Grant Opportunities

Great Coverage of Downtown/Main Street Helena

Loan Fund Designed to Boost Downtown Revitalization of Helena/West Helena
- property must be listed on or qualify for the National Register of Historic Places

Write Soon, Says the IRS
Arkansas Democrat Gazette article. Subscriber Only, Sorry
This article reminds us that all non-profits, regardless of income, must file their taxes by May 15. This is a significant IRS change as organization revenues under $25,000 once did not have to file. If an organization hasn’t filed their returns in three years, they could lose their non-profit status.

More on this from the Arkansas Coalition for Excellence
On May 15th 3863 of nonprofits in Arkansas will lose their tax-exempt status. Will your nonprofit be one of them? The Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics has developed a simple tool to find out if you need to file: Don’t throw away your tax exemption – Last Chance

Main Street Hardy/Main Street Arkansas Press

Formation of a Council of Arkansas Non Profits
The Arkansas Coalition for Excellence is organizing councils in five regions of Arkansas, which will be local roundtable discussion forums linking nonprofit organizations, businesses, government, and the community.
If you are interested in participating, or would like more information, please contact Joe Schafer, ACE Education Director, by E-mail to jschafer at or call 501-993-7932.

Nominate Outstanding Volunteers
The awards nomination deadline has been extended! You now have until Friday, May 14th to nominate outstanding volunteers for their work on our public lands! So if you know an outstanding public lands volunteer, work with a committed nonprofit in your efforts to preserve and protect our shared spaces, or are a member of an organization that participates in public lands volunteering, please consider submitting a nomination.

Winners will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington D.C. scheduled for Friday, July 16, 2010. Click here for more information and to submit a nomination.

Back to the City

The Unintended Consequences of Cul de Sacs (or as I call them, Cul de Sucks)

Economic Impact of Farmers' Markets in Mississippi

Farmers' Market Manager Training Manual Available
With funding from a three-year SARE Professional Development grant, the Farmers' Market Federation of New York used market experiences and research to develop an innovative new "Farmers' Market Manager Training Manual (PDF/7MB)." The manual describes the role of market managers and provides checklists, sample policies, worksheets, and other hands-on tools to help managers start markets, build market communities, and harness the power of these communities to sustain the markets and their local food systems.

The NTHP has an excellent track record for considering all types of diversity for their scholarships – from gender to geography & beyond. With the conference so close geographically, I urge you to consider this option.

The Diversity Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to community leaders from diverse backgrounds to attend the National Preservation Conference, to be held next in Austin, Texas, October 27-30, 2010.

The Program provides financial assistance to approximately 60 community leaders from diverse socio-economic, racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to attend the National Preservation Conference. Through interactive sessions, presentations, informal gatherings, and tours of the host city and surrounding areas, participants will learn the necessary tools to strengthen their commitment and effectiveness in preserving historic places and revitalizing communities.

The National Trust seeks culturally diverse applicants whose attendance at the Conference will benefit their communities and whose commitment to historic preservation will be reinforced by their participation. Recipients will have an opportunity to express their perspectives during the Conference and to take advantage of National Trust programs after the Conference.

For program and application information, please visit
or contact scholarship at


With the Space for Change Planning and Pre-Development grants, the Foundation has launched a 10-year, $100 million initiative to support a new generation of arts spaces nationwide. In partnership with Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) and the MetLife Foundation, the Ford Foundation will provide support for critical planning and pre-development activities that may precede partnering in or leading a facility project. Organizations with a strong track record of artistic excellence, who are intending to buy, build, renovate, partner in the development of, or become anchor tenants in a vibrant artist space can apply for up to $100,000 in support of a facility project. A wide range of facilities are eligible for support including work- and/or live-work space for artists; performance facilities; rehearsal spaces; gallery spaces; community arts and educational facilities; and any other types of spaces where artists work, where art works are made or presented, or where educational activities associated with the arts and involving artists take place. Additional information can be found on the Web site. | Avg. Grant: $100,000 | Contact Info: FORD FOUNDATION, Rise Wilson, LINC, Attn: Planning and Pre-Development Grants, 237 W. 35th St., Suite 1202, New York, NY , 10001, Ph: 646-731-3275, Visit Website

Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation Grant
The Foundation’s mission is to build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life, and make a positive difference. The Foundation focuses its grantmaking on the following areas: education, community development, health and human services, arts and culture, the environment, and civic life. Education grants should eliminate the pre-K-12 “achievement gap” in education through public school-sponsored or facilitated curriculum based programs; advance teaching through teacher recruitment, professional development, support, and retention; and facilitate merit-based access to higher education for underrepresented groups. Community development grants support the creation and sustaining of affordable housing, revitalize low- to moderate-income neighborhoods; facilitate job creation, workforce development, and financial literacy/empowerment; and provide economic development for minority and underserved groups and/or low- to moderate-income areas. Health and human services grants seek to enable and sustain independence for individuals and families and ensure access to both health education programs and quality health care. Arts and culture grants facilitate access to and participation in cultural experiences for those with low- to moderate income; and ensure the availability of a broad array of artistic opportunities/venues that reflect the diversity of the community. Environment grants support programs where preservation is the primary purpose and conservation of natural resources, endangered species, and the global environment are priorities. Civic grants support organizations that enhance a community’s quality of life. All applicants must take an eligibility quiz found on the Web site. The Foundation accepts applications for national grants but for grants requests from Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and Texas must apply through Wells Fargo’s Corporate Giving site. Additional information can be found on the Web site. | Grant Range: $5,000 To $100,000 | Contact Info: Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation, Georgette (Gigi) Dixon, 301 S. College St., MAC D1053-251, Charlotte, NC, 28202, Ph: 704-715-8579, Send Email, Visit Website

Georgia Pacific Grant
The Foundation supports a wide range of organizations that improve the quality of life in communities where the Company operates, and where the Company employees live and work. The Foundation focuses its grantmaking on what it calls the four Es: Education, Environment, Entrepreneurship, and Community Enrichment. Community enrichment grants include support for affordable housing and cultural programs. Environmental grants support resource conservation and clean air/clean water. Entrepreneurship grants target youth, women, and minorities. Company communities can be found in Alabama, Nevada, Arkansas, New Jersey, Arizona, New Hampshire, California, New Mexico, Delaware, New York, the District of Columbia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Oklahoma, Illinois, Oregon, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Massachusetts, Washington, Michigan, West Virginia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Wyoming, and Mississippi. Applicants are asked to complete the eligibility survey found on the Web site. | Grant Range: $1,000 To $5,000 | Contact Info: GEORGIA PACIFIC FOUNDATION , Visit Website

Conservation Fund Accepting Entries for Kodak American Greenways Program
Eastman Kodak Company, the Conservation Fund, and the National Geographic Society invite organizations working to create or improve a greenway, trail, or waterway to apply for a Kodak American Greenways Award grant.
The program invites land trusts, local governments, and other organizations to submit proposals for small greenway project grants. Funded projects typically advance one or more of the program goals — catalyzing new greenway projects, assisting grassroots greenway organizations, leveraging additional money for conservation and greenway development, and promoting use and enjoyment of greenways.
For 2010, the program anticipates awarding up to 50 percent of the grants to greenways projects that involve natural, cultural, and/or socio-political historical themes. Previous recipients have undertaken projects that included an addition to the historic Lewis and Clark Trail, the conversion of an abandoned rail line into a multi-use public trail along the historic Mission Zanja irrigation canal, and the construction of a trail connecting historically black colleges and universities in Tennessee.
Most grants will range from $500 to $1,000 each, with no grant exceeding $2,500.
Visit the Conservation Fund Web site for complete program information.
Link to Complete RFP

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Issues Request for Proposals on Energy Efficiency Retrofit Policies and Programs
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has announced a call for proposals related to innovative, scalable strategies for energy efficiency retrofit programs or policies that address the existing building stock in the United States.
Funding priorities include but are not limited to sustainable and scalable business models for implementing energy efficiency retrofits; policies or programs that seek to advance aggregation of disparate or fragmented opportunities in energy efficiency retrofits to increase the energy savings potential; innovative financing models and other mechanisms to ease upfront costs of efficiency improvements or increase the attractiveness of investments in energy efficiency; policies or programs to secure greater energy efficient performance in buildings such as through benchmarking or improved operations and management; policies or programs to drive deep energy efficiency retrofits in existing buildings; policies or programs to address split incentives; and mechanisms to increase the effectiveness of and property owner participation in state, local, utility-sponsored, or privately-sponsored energy efficiency programs (proposed partnerships between such programs and applicants for DDCF support are encouraged.
Proposals may be targeted to any particular barrier or segment of the buildings market (e.g., office, commercial, institutional, retail, residential, single-family, or multi-family). Research to help formulate programs or policies to address barriers is eligible as long as the path to implementation or adoption is clear.
The foundation will invite full proposals based on from pre-proposals, with grant l ranging from $100,000 to $350,000 each. Up to a total of $3 million in grants will be awarded.
Applicants must be U.S. nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations.
For more information and an online application from, visit the DDCF Web site.
Link to Complete RFP
Keep America Beautiful Announces 2010 Graffiti Hurts Grant Program
Keep America Beautiful has begun its 2010 Graffiti Hurts Grant Program, which offers three grants of $2,500 each to help communities step up their local graffiti-prevention activities.
This year's program will present one grant to a community with a population under 75,000, one to a community with between 75,000 and 250,000 residents, and one to a community with more than 250,000 residents. The funds must be used for projects that will be initiated in fall 2010 and completed no later than December 31, 2011.
Local governments, police departments, youth groups, downtown associations, crime prevention organizations, and other groups dedicated to eradicating graffiti vandalism are encouraged to apply. Proposed projects can address graffiti prevention and education, eradication, or enforcement of local anti-graffiti laws. Programs that include prevention initiatives n and engage and educate youth are encouraged to apply.
Program information and application are available at the Graffiti Hurts Web site.
Link to Complete RFP

Friday, May 7, 2010

Main Street Arkansas Update - May 3, 2010

Main Street Arkansas Calendar May 3-7, 2010
MONDAY-WEDNESDAY MSA Staff—National Main Streets Conference, OK City
WEDNESDAY Caroline--Texarkana
THURSDAY Susan-Paragould
FRIDAY Susan-Paragould

Funds Available from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department
Arkansas Governor Beebe Searching for Delta Leadership Applicants
Betsy McGuire, Main Street & Downtown Russellville Honors Heritage Month
Small Town News Goes Hyper-Local & Online
How I Raised $1,000 on Facebook Without Breaking a Sweat
Virtual Planner Makes City Planning More Accessible to Citizens
Can’t Make it to OKC? Point Your Browser Toward Main Street!

Funds Now Available from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department

The Highway Department is accepting applications for Transportation Enhancement funds. This is the first time they’ve accepted applications for projects that stretch beyond Welcome Centers in many years. Some of you who’ve been in the Main Street field a while remember the significant amount of transportation funding invested in Arkansas streetscapes some 10 years ago. Take advantage of one of the two seminars, on May 18 and June 22, and work with your local governments to utilize this funding for your downtowns. Contact Trey Foster at (501) 569-2261 or Trey.Foster at, to register and see links below to learn more.

Links to the seminars:


Arkansas Governor Beebe Searching for Delta Leadership Applicants

Gov. Mike Beebe is again searching for leaders from the Delta region to participate in the Delta Leadership Institute.

The institute brings together community leaders from across the Delta to work together to provide solutions to the challenges that confront the region. This year-long program is sponsored by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) in partnership with the University of Alabama’s College of Continuing Studies.

Five DLI participants and two alternates will be selected from Arkansas. Applicants must be from one of the counties comprising the DRA and are required to attend all five sessions located in various cities throughout the Delta. To complete the online application for the program, visit the Web site,

Applicants must submit an application, along with a letter of interest and two letters of recommendation: one from a community leader and the other from a state representative, state senator, or congressional member by Monday, May 31. Letters of recommendation should be mailed to Governor Beebe’s office, attention: Amanda Richardson, State Capitol, Suite 238, Little Rock, AR 72201, or call (501) 683-6439 for further information.

Betsy McGuire, Main Street & Downtown Russellville Honors Heritage Month


Small Town News Goes Hyper-Local & Online
How I Raised $1,000 on Facebook Without Breaking a Sweat
One Citizen uses birthday to raise money for his favorite non-profit.\

Virtual Planner Makes City Planning More Accessible to Citizens

Virtual Interactive Planner, or VIP, is an internet-based tool designed to provide the citizens and customers of Cary with an easy to use interactive program that helps guide them through the Cary development process. VIP is designed to help reduce the confusion and intimidation sometimes associated with necessary complex, comprehensive processes like land development

Click here to see a demo of the virtual planner
Click below to learn more about how it works:

Can’t Make it to OKC? Point Your Browser Toward Main Street!

Join our National Main Streets Conference online next week for a timely, stimulating—and free—discussion of commercial district revitalization and sustainable development & design.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010