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Searcy's quaint square getting makeover | News

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Searcy's quaint square getting makeover

SEARCY, Ark. (KTHV) - Corporations like Wal-Mart have taken over small towns all over Arkansas, stealing the business from those who need it most. In Searcy, a city with two large Wal-Mart distribution centers, there's an effort to reverse that trend.

City leaders in Searcy know we live in a world of hubs and spokes. It's how our stuff gets to us and how many of our systems run. As an effort to bring customers back to those mom and pop stores, a quaint square in the center of Searcy is also becoming the center of action for a revitalization plan.

"The concept of the master plan is we wanted to tie different areas into the court square," said Richard Stafford with Whitlow Engineering Services.

The area around the state's oldest working courthouse in White County is getting a makeover.

"This is not just a city of Searcy project. This is a project that we've all come together to beautify our downtown area," explained Searcy Mayor David Morris. 

Traffic flow will be controlled more efficiently and somehow they managed to increase the number of parking spaces. Jutting traffic islands will be the only thing to slow people down.

About the only thing the planners of this project have had to say no to is all of the old brick, which was used to make up the roads in court square. They'll now be used as part of crosswalks that will be jutting out into the road, according to Mayor Morris. 

"It's a nod to our heritage without having to go through the huge undertaking of removing all of the asphalt," said Amy Burton, Executive Director of Main Street Searcy. 

Burton joined Mayor Morris and Ricky Floyd for a trip to Fairhope, Ala. Their award-winning city center is the inspiration for this Searcy project. Floyd sees the chance to grow businesses downtown.

"We can now bring a customer or new business prospect to downtown here. It will be a beautiful area, and they can get the wow factor," said Floyd with Searcy Economic Development Commission. 

Businesses already on the square agree.

"A lot of people who move into the community don't even realize there's a downtown. So, I'm hoping this will make them more aware of that," said Nancy Showalter with Stotts Drug Co.