This enhanced image from the Texarkana, Arkansas, Public Works Department shows new boundaries of the city’s downtown entertainment district, where open containers of alcohol are allowed outdoors. During a regular meeting Monday, the city Board of Directors approved changes to the boundary, which include adding a grassy area on the south side of Front Street that the city leases from Union Pacific railroad.
Photo by Staff photo illustration by Karl Richter
TEXARKANA, Ark. — During a regular meeting Monday, the city Board of Directors voted to make changes to the boundary of the downtown entertainment district, where open containers of alcohol are allowed outdoors.
With Ward 1 Director Terry Roberts absent, the Board voted unanimously to approve the changes recommended by the city Planning Commission
Those changes include adding land leased by the city from Union Pacific Railroad on the south side of Front Street.
The line will also move to the north side of East Third Street to allow for businesses that want to operate there, and to the center line of North State Line Avenue.
City Planner Mary Beck said the change recommendations were part of a review of the entertainment district planned since it was established in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed that evaluation until this year.
“We had an opportunity to go back and review the boundaries and see if they were adequate,” she said, adding that all feedback from the Public Works, Police and Fire departments was positive.
In other business, Public Works Director Tyler Richards presented preliminary findings of a drainage study of Nix Creek previously approved and budgeted by the Board. The study’s purpose is to inform plans to help prevent flooding along the creek.
The creek’s main problems are bank erosion and the deposits of sediment it causes downstream, Richards said. Though the city does not have funding available to solve all local creeks’ drainage issues at once, measures such as dredging the sediment in Nix Creek and shoring its banks will “put a pretty big dent” in the problem, he said.
Ward 2 Director Laney Harris questioned whether studying Nix Creek alone was leaving out the poorer parts of the city where flooding is an issue.
He suggested spending federal COVID relief funds on creek flood prevention.
Richards explained that improvements to Nix Creek would have positive effects downstream.
“Everything we do in Nix Creek will have a direct impact on all those tributaries,” he said.
Mayor Allen Brown said COVID relief funds are restricted for certain approved purposes and flood mitigation may or may not be among them.
The Board also approved a request to rezone land at 1400 Dudley St. to allow an annex to a childcare facility for after-school care. It also approved the purchase of chemicals for wastewater treatment.
The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 16.