Posted on April 11, 2018
By Tia Lyons
With its 2018 accreditation in hand, Main Street El Dorado is heading into the second quarter of the year with a fresh list of ideas, projects and events.
On Tuesday, the group underwent its annual year-end assessment and re-certification process, which was conducted by Mark Miller, small business consultant for Main Street Arkansas.
The assessment was performed during the regular monthly meeting of the MSE board of directors.
Miller said the MSE program is admired by the other 34 Main Street communities around the state.
“Your name comes up often because you set the bar so high,” he said.
He explained that the assessment is based on 10 criteria — including, but not limited to, broadbased community support, vision and mission statement, historic preservation ethic, program of ongoing training and reporting of key statistics. A cumulative score of seven is required for accreditation.
Accreditation with state and national programs means that MSE will be eligible for grants and free professional services that are offered by Main Street Arkansas, such as interior and exterior design and small-business consulting/business retention and expansion for businesses and historic properties within the Main Street District.
MSE scored no less than seven of 10 in any category, earning perfect scores of 10 for half of the criteria.
Miller said the MSE prgram first assesses itself, and the self-assessment is evaluated by Main Street Arkansas. In some instances, MSE lost a point or two in some areas, and in others, the state program added “one or two points.”
For instance, MSE scored a seven in the vision and mission statement criterion.
Miller said two points were subtracted in the area of “current and clear vision statement,” asking MSE board members,”When was the last time you looked at updating your vision statement?”
A mission statement “talks about how you will get where you want to be,” and a vision statement ” outlines where you want to be,” he said.
Miller said another point was deducted because all board members were not familiar with the MSE mission statement, which is to engage “community involvement to promote economic growth and historic preservation in downtown El Dorado.”
Board members discussed ways to take advantage of upcoming events to help increase foot traffic downtown, while helping the community — one of the principal points of the MSE mission statement.
The group is working with Relay For Life of Union County to host the 2018 Relay at 6:30 p.m. on Friday downtown.
It will be the first time the event has been held in Union Square. Activities will center on Elm Street.
Beth Brumley, executive director of Main Street El Dorado, said MSE and the Downtown Business Association
partnering on some events for May — including Cinco de Mayo, which falls on a Saturday — and complementary activities for Symphony on the Square on May 26.
National Tourism Week is set for May 6 – 12, and Brumley said Main Street is in talks with the Arkansas Welcome Center to plan local events to celebrate and promote tourism in South Arkansas. Brenda Clark, manager of the El Dorado Welcome Center, attended the MSE meeting.
Bruce Butterfield, Main Street board president, reminded the group that hundreds of people are expected in town for the 2018 Delek Tournament for Hope, which is set for June 12 – 14.
The tournament is a fundraiser that supports local charities that are recommended by Delek’s leadership personnel and a benevolence committee.
Board member Kristy Hayden, also a Delek employee, said the tournament will include golfing and sporting clays at Mystic Creek Golf Course and Camp De Soto, respectively.
An invitation-only VIP event for donors will kick off the event on June 12 in the Griffin Music Hall, Hayden said.
Also planned for the multi-day event is a celebration and silent auction on June 13 in the El Dorado Conference Center. A Second City Summer Blockbuster theatrical performance is also slated for June 14 in the Murphy Arts District.
“We need to think of ideas for promotion and take advantage of all the traffic that’s coming to town and get people downtown and out in the stores to spend money,” Butterfield said.
Other upcoming events that will be held downtown include:
• Summer Concert Series/Showdown at Sunset, June 23, July 28 and Aug. 25.
• Airstream on Main Street, Sep. 20 – 23.
• 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s — South Arkansas, Sept. 22.
• MusicFest, Oct. 18 – 20. Brumley said MSE will organize its MusicFest activities on Oct. 19 and 20, while the concerts, scheduled by MAD, will begin Oct. 18.
Looking ahead to
Mayor Frank Hash called on MAD, Main Street and the DBA to begin preparing for the 42nd annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The conference will be held in El Dorado for the first time in March 2019.
“We need to pull a nucleus together to start mapping out our concept … We just don’t want to under-plan it. There are a lot of influential people that come to these things,” Hash said.
Spearheaded by MAD, with help from city officials, a bid was presented to the Arkansas Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission to host the 2019 conference in the city El Dorado made a short-list of finalists, and the selection was announced in January.
Hash said the city will take care of in-town transportation for attendees, and he said that while the city has several viable venues, “they’re all spread out.”
Austin Barrow, president and chief operating officer for MAD, agreed with Hash, saying that MAD is looking forward to working with Main Street and other groups to put together the itinerary for the conference.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or by email at tlyons@ eldoradonews.com .