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Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 2:57 a.m.

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EL DORADO IN MAD DASH

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Small Arkansas city readies for debut of first phase of $100M arts, entertainment district

By Jeannie Roberts

This article was originally published September 24, 2017 at 4:30 a.m. Updated September 25, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

craig-garrett-left-and-bob-whitehouse-work-thursday-to-install-the-sign-for-the-new-amphitheater-in-the-murphy-arts-district-in-downtown-el-dorado

Craig Garrett (left) and Bob Whitehouse work Thursday to install the sign for the new amphitheater in the Murphy Arts District in downtown El Dorado.


INTERACTIVE: 10 more 360° images show Murphy Arts District

Click here for larger versions
Photos by Staton Breidenthal

A crew cleans the floor Thursday at the Griffin Music Hall in the new Murphy Arts District in downtown El Dorado.

Paving machines ply through downtown El Dorado on Thursday as city streets get new asphalt.

The kitchen staff at the upscale, farm-to-table Griffin Restaurant get ready Thursday for opening festivities in the Murphy Arts District in El Dorado...

A map showing the location of El Dorado, Arkansas

EL DORADO -- A week and a day until opening day, walking into the offices of the Murphy Arts District -- tucked just off El Dorado's storied Main Street -- is like stepping into the swirling tunnel of a tornado.


INTERACTIVE: 10 more 360° images show Murphy Arts District

Click here for larger versions
Photos by Staton Breidenthal

A crew cleans the floor Thursday at the Griffin Music Hall in the new Murphy Arts District in downtown El Dorado.

Paving machines ply through downtown El Dorado on Thursday as city streets get new asphalt.

The kitchen staff at the upscale, farm-to-table Griffin Restaurant get ready Thursday for opening festivities in the Murphy Arts District in El Dorado...

A map showing the location of El Dorado, Arkansas

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Print Headline: Arts-district debut this week; city astir

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Comments on: PHOTOS/VIDEO: Small Arkansas city readies for debut of first phase of $100M arts, entertainment district

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Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 total comments

JiminLA says... September 24, 2017 at 8:19 p.m.

A few facts that are easily challenged (I-20 does not connect El Dorado to Ruston, La) but otherwise a good article. I'm hoping the dreams, planning, hard work, and money pays off.

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bear21 says... September 24, 2017 at 8:37 p.m.

Unintended Consequences -
There is no doubt the Murphy Art's District will be a benefit to many, both those who will come to enjoy and those who will be able to benefit financially over time. Not to mention the retrofitting of the downtown area.
However, as with most things - It's not simple math to figure out how investing $100 million dollars in an arts and entertainment district can turn around to economic development and job growth and population growth. That's not easy math. That's long algebra." - Austin Barrow President / Murphy Arts District stated. I could not agree more - in fact over the past two years there has been a growing recognition in the non-profit sector in El Dorado and Union Co. that the expectations from those community partners and individual donors that have been so supportive in past years are just not there as previously. As we say in the south "they've been dunned" This coupled with the long oil industry downturn creates pause for how those agencies will make ends meet. And there are many needs to meet in this depressed area that will most likely never be influenced by MAD. There ARE many empty store fronts and crime is at an all time high. Unlike Bentonville and the NWA corridor which enjoys not only the Walton's wealth; but is also a much more diversified community on multiple fronts. Yet, El Dorado has long history of taking care of itself, but make no mistake this south Arkansas city has been and is a company town with one leading family. So while - the motive is pure "Its not simple" and like most "audacious efforts" the pendulum often needs to be re-calibrated to attain the proper balance to fend off what is the "unintended consequences" of putting all your eggs in one basket.

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