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Newport Independent - Newport, AR
  • Arkadelphia, Ft. Smith vie in 'Paint What Matters' contest

  • "I vote [once a day] on my iPhone, my iPad and my computer," said Deborah Sesser of the Arkadelphia Downtown Network.
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  • Arkadelphia is one of two Arkansas cities looking to win the Benjamin Moore’s “Paint What Matters” contest.
    According to Deborah Sesser with the Downtown Arkadelphia Network, area residents can visit www.paintwhatmatters.com every day until Sunday, June 30, to cast their vote.
    Voters can vote once a day from multiple devices with Internet access.
    "So I vote on my iPhone, my iPad and my computer," Sesser said.
    If Arkadelphia is selected as one of 20 communities for the project, the city will receive free paint to give the downtown area a facelift.
    Sesser said she, Brooke Gregory, Arkadelphia City Manager Jimmy Bolt, Rendi Currey, several downtown business owners, and members of Downtown Arkadelphia nominated the city for the contest.
    After the nomination, a city official was required to verify that the city wanted the free paint.
    "They wanted to know basically that we wanted paint for our downtown and what area," said Sesser who noted that buildings along Clinton Street have been targeted.
    Sesser explained there are several reasons why the contest is important.
    "The idea is that this is a chance to celebrate the history that we already have, clean it up and make it a much nicer, cleaner place," Sesser said.
    In addition, Sesser said it will also bring in economic development dollars because once an area has been revitalized, people will want to visit it. The facelift will also benefit downtown by adding to the property value.
    "The idea is that local retailers and local contractors will be used. That makes sure the money used for this project will stay in our area and provides jobs for local people," said Sesser.
    Sesser noted that Arkadelphia won the Main Street Preservation category for 5,000 to 20,000 people last year.
    "It shows growth downtown and we're just continuing that trend and really wanting to build on the work that is already happening," Sesser said.
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