December 1, 2022

Springswines

The Tour And Travel Enthusiasts

City leaders in Eureka Springs, Ark., accept grant for sidewalk improvements

2 min read
City leaders in Eureka Springs, Ark., accept grant for sidewalk improvements

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KY3) – The city of Eureka Springs accepted a federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant to construct sidewalks along U.S. Highway 62.

The sidewalk is a part of the city council’s plan to create an entirely walkable town. The stretch of the path will go from Planer Hill, near the transportation center, to the community center.

“Sidewalks is one of our biggest priorities or at least my priority, and getting sidewalks throughout the city because we are a walkable city despite our hills and everything,” Mayor Butch Berry told KY3 Thursday.

Berry says federal grants are vital to the town’s infrastructure due to limited funding in a city with a population of 2300. The first section of the sidewalk will cost nearly $330,000, a portion of which will be paid for by the city.

“Our tax base is based on that (number),” said Berry. “We don’t have any big box stores, so we don’t have a large retail tax coming in that helps fund most cities’ infrastructure.”

Business owners in downtown Eureka Springs are encouraged by the city council’s decision but want to see more emphasis placed on sidewalk maintenance throughout downtown.

“We have people of all ages that walk around this area, and we should encourage them to walk instead of driving down here,” said Julie Kautza, owner of Christophers Boutique. “We have sidewalks right out in front of our stores that are falling apart. To me, where you have a majority of people walking, that’s where a majority of attention should be placed.”

Kautza says she has helped guests who have fallen off the sidewalks near her store.

“We’ve watched people struggle so many times and helped pick them up off the sidewalks,” she said. “In fact, I have a first aid kit behind my curtains just for those reasons.”

City officials say they place a lot of focus on the downtown area but have to continue to improve the city as a whole.

“We understand the amount of traffic that walks around downtown, but businesses on U.S. Highway 62 are also a part of the city, and they deserve safe walkability for potential customers,” said city council member Harry Meyer. “Through this grant, we can provide those sidewalks along portions of the road and continue to address other needs as funding becomes available.”

The city council accepted the grant during its meeting Monday. No start date has been set for construction on the new sidewalks.

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