Inspire • Equip • Restore

Developing Thriving Downtown Communities

Siloam Springs, AR
Downtown Siloam Springs, like your downtown, was the place to be in the early century. Everything you needed for entertainment, for healing, for home care needs, even when it was time to purchase that new car…all of it was found downtown. In Siloam Springs, our whole identity was found in our downtown. Just like many downtowns across America, our downtown lost the battle to the car. The bypass came in, and the businesses left for new shiny locations along the HWY.

Fast forward to the early 2000’s. The economy is booming, development is everywhere and yet the heart, the identity of our community is slowly dying, right before our eyes. I just couldn’t handle it any more. Someone had to take this leap and do something to change this. As I started purchasing and restoring buildings I learned something about the heart. I realized that restoring buildings alone isn’t the solution to the problem. I remember people saying how badly they wanted to see the buildings brought back to life, and how excited they were that the new book store was open, or the art gallery, flower shop and even the new coffee shop… but yet, even with the new fresh look, the repaired brick and mortar, the awesome 100 year old floors and ceilings, and the new jobs created from opening new business…the heart was still unhealthy.

Flipping a downtown requires all of us to open our hearts and believe that our downtown that has been unhealthy for years can be revived again! You see, I’m fortunate to have the skills and the knowledge to reconstruct, but I am most blessed to have learned how to revive the heart of the downtown in this process. This takes a lot of teaching and preaching to people from all walks of life, and possibly a little begging also. Begging, or convincing folks to "Come on down!" See what the downtown life can do for you and your own heart. So as more started to believe, and started to understand the importance of supporting the businesses that were opened, the more the feeling of vibrancy occurred. Suddenly you could feel it. We captured momentum and capitalized on it. We encouraged new business to come in purely based off of that momentum… and by 2012, about 6 years after purchasing our first buildings, we were an "Overnight success."

- In 2011, Siloam Springs became a fully accredited Main Street Arkansas City
- The Siloam Springs Farmers Market has increased its overall commerce four-fold
- We leveraged donor investments to bring over a half a million dollars of grant funds into Siloam Springs on various projects
- 13 buildings downtown have been significantly or completely renovated or restored, and three more projects are on the way
- Over 15,000 volunteer hours have been contributed to downtown events and projects and cleanups
- Siloam Springs was named one of the Top 4 Best Main Streets in America by Parade Magazine
- Siloam Springs has won 12 awards from Main Street Arkansas, including the "Spirit of Main Street" Award in 2014
- $430,000 in Historic Preservation Tax Credits have been utilized in downtown Siloam Springs
- 30 new businesses have opened and sustained business, creating 91 new jobs
- A vibrant calendar of events keeps visitors coming often to downtown
- In 2014, the City approved the Downtown & Connectivity Master Plan, which Main Street facilitated the creation of. In March of this year, voters approved a dedicated
funding source for quality of life improvements, which helps ensure the implementation of the plan.
- We have a mural! And three other public art installations!
- We created the Downtown Design Guide and have distributed over 13 Facade Mini-Grants
- We have spent over $40,000 directly promoting Downtown Siloam Springs
- The Homegrown Festival has been launched and continues to grow into a great fall festival for the community

The heart is alive and well in Siloam Springs!