Beautification efforts for BBQ fest underway

JONSEBORO, AR (KAIT) - Renovations are happening now in Downtown Jonesboro. Though there are bigger changes in the future, the city is making some minor ones now in preps for the biggest draw to Downtown Jonesboro each year.

They're also working to watch your money in the process.

Some of the smaller changes have already taken place.

"We had too many of the signs up that says two hour parking," Mayor Harold Perrin said.

That was according to Hyett Palma, the consulting firm that came to Jonesboro in July to evaluate ways to make sure the downtown area continues to grow.

Mayor Perrin told Region 8 News the other changes the city is looking to get done before the annual BBQ Fest in September will be more noticeable.

"We're going to spray and seal with asphalt all the alleyways," Perrin said. They'll also re-do the striping in the parking lots.

That project will run somewhere between $17,000 - $18,000, funded through capital improvement.

"We had planned to do it next year, we're just moving it up one year," Perrin explained.

The most costly of the improvements will be to replace the free parking signs in the city.

"They will also have a directory, right in the middle of them, that will show every business downtown."

The $24,000 project won't cost taxpayers though. Mayor Perrin said they plan to sell advertisements to downtown businesses to pay for the signage.

Another beautification effort is through planting flowers in planters downtown. That's something the Downtown Jonesboro Association agreed to pay for, costing the taxpayer nothing.

"You can see that this is a private, public project. I think that's the future of any city that's aggressive and growing."

Perrin said all of this is in preps for the biggest draw to downtown each year.

"BBQ fest is our largest event downtown, where we'll have 10-11-12, thousand people, maybe more, that will be here for that weekend."

The city planner is also working with City, Water & Light on getting more and brighter lighting around the parking lots.

Mayor Perrin says they hope to have this all done by September 28th, that's when the BBQ fest kicks off.

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