Efforts to complete the long-awaited Downtown Streetscape Project began on Monday, March 7th following Mena City Council approving a low bid of $511,337 from Township Builders out of Little Rock in their February 2016 meeting for the completion of the project. The project will see the replacement of old, cracked, and sometimes hazardous sidewalks to modern and decorative sidewalks on Mena Street from Maple Street to Sherwood Avenue. Some years ago, the project began to replace the sidewalks of Mena Street with decorative pavers as part of the Downtown Streetscape Project. However, as Mayor George McKee put it, “we’ve had 3 one-hundred year floods and an ice storm” which have caused delays with completing the project, along with FEMA taking almost five years to release the funding.
Rick Chrisman, owner of American Artisans on Mena Street, spoke at a council meeting last year on behalf of several business owners and organizations from the downtown area regarding their efforts to draw tourism to the region. Chrisman explained that the business owners have been inspired by a revitalization study that ARCO (Arkansas Regional Coalition of the Ouachitas) conducted. “The creative organizations and businesses downtown have been working hard to create events to draw tourism to downtown to improve the area,” said Chrisman. “It’s important to us to see this improve down here.”