Texarkana businesses to take advantage of downtown sidewalks
By KARL RICHTER
Apr. 15, 2018
TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — Some downtown Texarkana, Arkansas, business owners are making plans to take advantage of new rules for sidewalk displays.
An ordinance recently approved by the city Board of Directors allows businesses in the 100 through 400 blocks of East Broad to use 5 feet of sidewalk width for merchandising, seating and decorations, the Texarkana Gazette reported .
Beverly Rowe, owner of the Lindsey Railroad Museum and Old Town, and president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, proposed the change after seeing how sidewalk activity brought a spark to downtown El Dorado, Arkansas.
"It just adds life to the downtown area. It makes it look like everybody's active and it's interesting, and it draws people downtown," she said.
Rowe has plenty of ideas about how to use space outside the museum, including running model trains and making a "street piano" available for anyone to play. She envisions a coffee shop atmosphere with tables, chairs, plants and temporary awnings to provide shade in the summer.
Putting some merchandise outside makes for an inviting look, said Cindy Stewart with Bee Line Eclectic Resale & More.
"It says, 'We're open,'" she said.
Paul Baird, owner of Verona restaurant, said he was unsure whether he would provide any outdoor seating but he likes the idea of a fun sidewalk atmosphere downtown.
Sharon Felps with lighting store Logan Electric Co., one of the oldest downtown businesses, said the ordinance will not change how the company operates.
"I just don't see any of my merchandise going outside," she said.
According to the new rule, any goods sold on the sidewalk must also be offered inside, and sales displays will require review by the city Historic District Commission and a $50 review fee. The ordinance includes provisions to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Information from: Texarkana Gazette, http://www.texarkanagazette.com