Merchants apply for revitalization in A.D.N. program

Malvern merchants are in the process of becoming a member of the Arkansas Downtown Network (ADN). The application process is competitive and Malvern will soon make its presentation to the deciding board. The ADN is part of the Main Street Arkansas network, but the ADN serves a broader base of communities in Arkansas that are honing in on revitalizing their historic commercial core.

Both Main Street Arkansas and the ADN help guide historic commercial districts through the revitalization process. The difference is cost. Participation in the Main Street Arkansas requires a larger financial commitment than participation in the ADN. According to the Main Street Arkansas website, communities the size of Malvern – 5,001 to 50,000 in population – cost more than $59,000 in 2011. Participation in the ADN only requires a $4,850 commitment. Malvern merchants and financial institutions have pledged those funds, according to Julie Warner of Julie’s Gifts and Frames in Malvern.
“If we get accepted, they have a staff that will come in and help with the rejuvenation of the buildings and businesses.” Warner explained. They hope to know in June whether or not Malvern’s application was accepted. She said that ADN will also give the community the tools to bring outside businesses in to start their own business in Malvern.
The main difference between the two programs, according to the ADN application, is “Simply, Main Street Arkansas will provide fewer services to ADN communities and will require less from those communities.”

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