Winning competition would paint the town

By Wayne Bryan Originally Published June 23, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated June 21, 2013 at 11:29 a.m.
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Arkadelphia is looking for your vote. Like a contestant on The Voice or American Idol, the city is in the running for a big prize that will come with a lot of good publicity.

Downtown Arkadelphia, a business group in the Clark County community, worked to make the city one of around 100 North American towns nominated in a national contest called Main Street Matters, sponsored by Benjamin Moore, a large paint manufacturer.

The paint maker, working with local businesses in the winning cities, will work on repainting sections of downtown businesses.

Deborah Sesser, president of Downtown Arkadelphia, said the organization is trying to get the word out about the contest so residents and friends of the community will vote online for Arkadelphia to be one of the 20 downtowns in the U.S. and Canada selected for the facelift.

“We are really excited about the opportunity,” Sesser said. “I think we have a chance of winning because a lot of people in the city are interested in contributing to this and other local projects.”

She said that along with the number of votes, supporters should add comments about why the city should get the downtown makeover.

“After the voting is over, the company will make their selections, so I think it is about more than just who collects the most votes,” Sesser said.

If Arkadelphia is selected, several structures along Clinton Street from Sixth Street to 10th Street would be repainted and have some other storefront enhancements.

“After the city came to the attention of the contest officials, City Manager Jimmy Bolt was called to confirm the town’s interest, and they asked him what section of downtown should receive the work, if the city is among the winners,” Sesser said. “He said the Clinton Street area.”

Benjamin Moore will provide the paint and supplies needed for facades, porches, railings, shutters and other exterior building trims, and color experts from the county would consult on the best choices to enhance the architectural style, regional influences and historic references in each community, according to a statement from David Melancon, the paint company’s chief marketing officer.

Skilled professional painters and building contractors would be hired, putting another

segment of local business to work, along with the local Benjamin Moore retailer, which would mix the paints used in the project.

“The idea is that it not only contributes to the appearance of the area but provides tax dollars, as the local retailer would get credit for selling the paint, and local contractors get the work,” Sesser said. “Hardman Interiors on Pine Street is the local Benjamin Moore retailer in Arkadelphia.”

A communications portion of Main Street Matters, allowing local businesses and community members to tell their stories, will be featured online during the voting process and will also be part of the paint company’s advertising program — a mix of national- and local-market TV, radio, online and print ads that started in May.

“Our Main Streets are the vital hubs of our communities — and Benjamin Moore and independent dealers have always been integral parts of Main Street,” Melancon said. “Main Streets make us who we are, and we’re proud to honor that with this effort.”

Sesser, who is also director of grants and research for Arkadelphia, said entering the contest was the suggestion of Brooke Gregory, treasurer of Downtown Arkadelphia.

“She said we should look into this as another way to support the revitalization of downtown,” Sesser said. “We nominated Arkadelphia and encouraged others in town and outside the city to also nominate us. We were then told we made the list, and the voting started.”

In Arkansas, Arkadelphia is competing against Fort Smith. Texarkana, Texas, is also in the running and drawing support from its Arkansas sister city, according to the Main Street Matters website.

“We are wanting people to vote for Arkadelphia. You can vote once a day per device, such as one vote from your computer, your smartphone, iPad, etc.,” Sesser said. “Vote every day until June 30.”

Voting will end at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on June 30. In July, Benjamin Moore will post online the final list of towns to be repainted. To vote or for more information and a list of nominated cities, visit

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or

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