Downtown Jonesboro reborn

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) --If you've driven through downtown Jonesboro in the past several years you can't miss all the remodeling.

You may have heard rumors about what's coming to downtown. Here's the lowdown on the downtown.

A lot of hammering and sawing is going on in downtown Jonesboro. Some quick door remodeling at the new Skinny J's as the new broiler is delivered. Not quite small enough to slide through the door. Take out the door frame and move it in.

It's all part of the re-birth downtown Jonesboro continues to have.

"It already had this energy. You could tell that there was so much to come but already so much that had happened that started unfolding for us when we came in."

Shelli Wood and her husband, Sam Jones, recently opened an art gallery downtown. Like many their new downtown residence will be in a loft over the new gallery which will be located next to their present location. They are waiting for a new facade and balcony to be built.

The new gallery is the kind of attraction that Wood hopes will draw more people to downtown.

"We want to define this area as the arts and entertainment district."

Wood is the Vice President of the new Downtown Jonesboro Organization that is trying to get the word out about downtown and its new additions. The new organization would like to see downtown kept for pedestrians only. The pavement taken up and the original cobblestone paving revealed. Keeping the buildings antique looks with modern touches is part of the organizations plans.

"We are wanting to be part of the main street organization that's connected to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program."

ABC Stone construction has been remodeling the downtown area for about 6 years. Workers are had at it getting several new restaurants ready.

Vino's and Trail's End BBQ both out of Little Rock will take over the former Sheffields. Omar's Downtown will be on the corner of Main and Huntington.and Don Jose's and Yolo Frozo Frozen Yogurt will be in the modern looking remodel across from Godsey's.

Rachel Flemon was shopping downtown. As a young person she says downtown has appeal. But she admits she sometimes forgets what is downtown and doesn't come down to hang out.

"It's exciting for kids our age to have something different to go to."

Uniqueness is what seems to work well for restaurants downtown. It could also work well for retail.

Flemon says there needs to be a different kind of store downtown. "Maybe more stores that aren't in the mall."

To enjoy main street you don't have to park on Main street and the 2 lane narrow road that runs through the district.

Wood, "We have many super well lit parking lots that are close by and free. Any downtown you go into that's hard to come by."

The newest downtown addition will be Skinny J's moving from Cash to downtown Jonesboro.

James Best showed me around his new place, complete with redwood bar.

"I'd been interested in coming down here. Looking for a place brought me to this place, fell in love with it and just went from there."

After years of neglect and a slow start, Downtown Jonesboro is hitting it's stride again.

Wood. "I think it's a timing thing and I think it's one of those things that's been brewing for a while."

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