March 5, 2008 Edition

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Walnut Ridge to apply
for Downtown Network

Gretchen Hunt

Community leaders, business owners and interested residents met last Wednesday afternoon and decided to pursue a Walnut Ridge application to be part of the Arkansas Downtown Network, which is a division of Main Street Arkansas.

Those present decided to form an organizational committee and begin seeking support for the project through letters of support and financial contributions.

Lorra Whitmire of First National Bank, who is spearheading the project, said the application must be submitted by March 21 and must include letters of support and a total financial commitment of at least $4,200.

"The more support we can show for the project, the better chance we have of being accepted," Whitmire said. "We need to show support from local government, civic groups, business owners and the community."

Those who would like to offer their support can contact Whitmire at 886-5959 or the Chamber of Commerce at 886-3232. Letters or contributions can be mailed to Lorra Whitmire, c/o First National Bank, P.O. Box 509, Walnut Ridge, AR 72476. Letters are needed by March 15.

The Downtown Network allows communities that may not be able to make the commitments required by Main Street Arkansas to still benefit from the program through their educational and strategic planning services.

"Basically, it is allowing us to have access to their services and attend their events for a discounted price," Whitmire said. "It is a great step for Walnut Ridge toward revitalization of our wonderful downtown area."

The organizational committee will meet Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce boardroom. Anyone who could not attend last week's meeting, but would like to be on the committee is invited to attend Thursday's meeting.

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