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Revitalizing downtown is topic of meeting

The Petit Jean Electric community room was filled Thursday evening with people who wanted to talk about the future of downtown Clinton.

Dr. Mark Peterson, a professor in community and economic development at the University of Arkansas, showed a video about Harrison, a city that successfully revitalized its downtown. He then challenged the crowd to list things good about the community and where they would like to see Clinton in 10 years.

At one table was a group of Clinton EAST lab students. They said the town needs entertainment, and one student said what it needs is a “show stopper” to draw in traffic from Highway 65. Traffic on Highway 65 is estimated at 18,000 vehicles a day.

Other things the audience said it would like to see included shops, downtown living areas, cobblestone streets, more respect for the environment and “people walking on downtown sidewalks.”

As for what participants said they like about the community, the answers included the “hearts of the people,” the resilience of residents, the small-town atmosphere, the natural resources and the park.

The county has been surveyed twice by universities in recent years to try to get a focus on what the community needs, wants and envisions. Peterson’s program is called Breakthrough Solutions, and is described as a community development initiative with multiple partner organizations dedicated to equipping and assisting communities to succeed.

The next meeting, according to organizers, is for the public. It is scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 10 at a location to be named later.

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