PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Downtown Paragould saw tremendous growth in 2014 and hopes to see even more opportunities in 2015.
In 2014, $71,000 was spent on improving building facades and $95,000 was spent on building repairs. The year also saw the lowest number of building vacancies compared to previous years.
Gina Jarrett, executive director of Main Street Paragould, said 2015 looks even more promising, and the owner of one local business said she is excited because 2014 was such a success.
"This year probably tripled to the growth of the smaller wealth every year prior to that," said Patty Garner, owner of Hairloom Boutique and Salon.
Hairloom has been in downtown for seven years. Garner said her business has grown since beginning as a salon.
"We added the boutique in, like I said, I started on a small bulletin board full of jewelry, and I've let it grow itself to this," Garner said.
With 2014 in the books, she hopes, like other businesses, 2015 will bring more growth.
Garner said she chose to put her business downtown because of the unique atmosphere.
Jarrett said growth comes from supporting downtown business.
"Dollars that are spent in independent owned businesses, the majority of those, or cents on a dollar, stay within Greene County and Paragould," Jarrett said.
Jarrett said 2015 will bring two new businesses, a retail store and a new restaurant.
"If downtown improves then our whole community will show the benefit and the growth in that," Jarrett said.
Another big project coming this year is new sidewalks. Jarrett said being accessible, well lit, and walkable are all things that make an impact on their success.
The Paragould City Council approved the one million dollar sidewalk project.
Jarrett said as they grow, more jobs will be available.
"When industries or big retailers are looking to come into a community, when office professionals are looking to come into a community and start a business, they look at downtown," Jarrett said. "Communities that take care of their downtown are usually thriving communities."
Those already downtown invite anyone to come join them.
"We're all a big family down here," Garner said. "We love it."
Jarrett said to keep growing, people must explore downtown and see its potential.
For more information on Downtown Paragould visit their website downtownparagould.com