A new streetscape
By 2013, after decades of neglect, the downtown was showing its age -- and not in a good way. Storefronts were empty, sidewalks were in disrepair, historic buildings were in danger of being lost forever, and the street itself had become nothing more than an artery for busy, fast-moving traffic passing from St. Louis Street to Center Street. Essentially, the downtown was not an inviting place.
An expert in downtown revitalization, Dan Burden, was brought in by a group of concerned citizens led by Bob Carius to see what could be done to save the downtown. He offered up a master infrastructure overhaul plan that would not only slow the traffic, but create a refreshed, walk-able, community-fostering environment -- a place where people could get out and enjoy the district. The plan included new sidewalks and crosswalks, signs and banners, a narrower lane, diagonal parking instead of all parallel parking, trees and green spaces.
Obviously these changes could not happen overnight. And since Main Street Batesville committed to raise the funds for the project through donations -- no taxes involved -- that meant even longer.
1. The road milled (thanks to Atlas Asphalt, who donated services!)
2. Curbing installation for new green spaces
3. New water service lines to replace the 100-year-old galvanized pipe lines
4. Installation of irrigation lines and conduit for electrical power to the new green spaces
5. New native stone gateway at the entrance of Main Street
6. All green spaces planted with trees, flowers, shrubs
Coming this spring:
1. A new cover of asphalt
2. A native stone monument commemorating the project, with a bronze plaque listing those who contributed to the "People's Block" of construction and "in memorial" donations
The next phase (as funds are raised):
1. New attractive brick-lain crosswalks
2. Overhead utility wires buried
3. New (or improved) street lights and banners
Thank you to all who have helped sponsor this HUGE project! ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS OF SPONSORS COMING SOON.
In 2016 Anne Strahl, a descendant of one of the founding families in Batesville -- The Maxfields -- left a generous donation in the care of Main Street Batesville: land on which to build a new park in the downtown district, as well as a trust to ensure the maintenance of the park in perpetuity. The project has been spearheaded by her friend and neighbor, Danny Dozier, who has worked tirelessly to complete her dream to transform the vacant lot between Main and Polk Bayou.
Maxfield Park is being constructed in phases, as funds are raised for construction. A waterfall and feature art piece have been installed, and native stone recovered from the ruins of an old downtown building is being reused for walls and landscaping. The park's organic design blends seamlessly into its surrounding environment, and creates a natural connection between the downtown and Polk Bayou, an increasingly popular waterway for outdoor recreation.
Thank you to all who have donated to make this amazing space possible! ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS OF SPONSORS COMING SOON.
Up From the River
In 2016, the first-ever comprehensive history of Downtown Batesville was written as a project of Main Street Batesville. The book features extensive research and follows the founding, progress and setbacks of the district through the decades. Photos, researched and published in cooperation with The Old Independence Regional Museum, show historic buildings and businesses give rare glimpses into the town's fascinating past.
The work has been hugely popular and has already almost sold out of its first print. Copies available in the Main Street Batesville online store.