2015 was a good year for Van Buren with revenue rising 4.3% above budget.
Maryl Koeth, the executive director of the advertising and promotion commission in Van Buren, said they have big plans on how to use the extra money.
“We'll be able to showcase our heritage which is our tourism product, and we want everyone to be able to enjoy our rich history,” Koeth said.
Koeth said they're purchasing a trolley for about $144,000 dollars to take visitors and locals through historic Van Buren.
'”We’ll be able move people on our tourist trolley that looks cute, but more importantly serves the function of moving people to each block, so that they can enjoy our shops, our restaurants, our art galleries,” Koeth said.
Koeth said the trolley will have stops all over town including at the excursion train, and business owners downtown said they're looking forward to the extra business.
“I think it will be a good thing for us to get some more business downtown,” Megan Howard, manager of Boomerang Diner, said.
Howard said she hopes more people will want to open businesses downtown after the trolley becomes popular.
“Hopefully more people will see opportunities down here and open up other shops and stores,” Howard said.
Julie Mahan works at the Firefly Boutique and said she thinks the trolley will make more people want to visit.
“The more we add new things here and different things, yes, I think it will bring more people,” Mahan said.
Mahan said the trolley will be the perfect addition to the area.
“When you come downtown, you're looking for something unique, something different,” Mahan said. “It's a little blast from the past, you know the trolley from the old days, and so that will be pretty complementary to the stores and businesses down here in the older buildings.”
Koeth said the trolley will be free and will run Wednesday, Friday and Saturday starting March 26th.
Koeth said they also plan to replace the mural on Knox Street with a photo of the city from the 1920s showing main street during the first Strawberry Festival.