Community And City Developers Discuss Revitalizing Downtown Springdale

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SPRINGDALE (KFSM)- Desolate, but full of potential. That is how residents described downtown Springdale at a meeting Tuesday (July 21) where city leaders and the Downtown Springdale Alliance (DSA) launched an effort to develop a master plan for the downtown area.

The master plan is part of the community-driven Downtown Springdale Initiative and will eventually be complied into a final planning and development document by H3 Studios, a St. Louis-based urban design firm hired by the city and DSA.

"Too many vacant storefronts, but they can come back easily," John Hoal, a city development specialist with H3 Studios, said. "We have been in town on and off for four months speaking to individuals, understanding downtown potential."

Hoal said lack of business along Emma Avenue is too blame for the vacancies and a major factor for the lack of business is how far downtown is from Interstate 49.

"It makes it a little bit more challenging, but not impossible," Hoal said.

The distance from the interstate was not enough to keep Black Apple Crossing, a hard cider brewery, from setting up shop along Emma Avenue. Leo Orpin, one of the owners, said his company bought into the future of downtown Springdale last year and will be holding its grand opening on July 25.

"We just took a leap of faith because we heard of the good things that were coming, and now you're seeing them come to fruition," he said. "There's a lot of history, and now there is a lot of energy to go with that, so now this downtown is about to blossom."

Orpin said all the effort going into revitalizing the area is what will ultimately help his business succeed.

"If we were to stand alone I'm not sure if we could drive the way that we could drive," he said. "We couldn't reach our potential."

The city and city developers said they hope to have downtown Springdale revitalized in the next seven to 10 years.