Opinion – 6/27/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2003

"I Ain’t Joking…" by Jim Beaver

For additional opinions and articles,
pick up the 6/27/03  issue of The Panolian

New Look for the Square – Hopefully

The downtown square – It’s a piece of Batesville’s history.

Back in the day, it was the happening place. It was where everyone came to shop, dine and just get together and exchange news and gossip.

But as time has gone by, and the super-malls have went up along the highways, the old square has become more of a memory than a place to go.

There are some great businesses on the square in Batesville, but one of the strangest things I’ve seen lately is a church group moving in just two doors down from The Eureka Night Club. I’ll bet it kinda makes a fellow feel guilty when heading in for a cool one after work.

The Main Street committee, headed up by Colleen Clark has worked diligently to improve the looks of the square. It does look good, but there is only so much that group can do – and so much money.

But don’t fear. There is a movement going on to bring back the businesses and the people to the downtown square.

Adam Pittman, our Youth Court Judge and Family Court Judge recently spoke to the Batesville Rotary Club, of which I am a member, and spelled out a plan to revitalize the area.

Some of the plans call for a re-vamped veteran’s memorial, with an adjacent fountain (hopefully to be sponsored by a local service club).

There will also be an amphitheater, with seating located on each side of the gazebo – one of the only parts of the square that has stood with time.

The adjacent parking lot which is used now for parking and seating for special events such as SpringFest would be sort of taken out and reworked into a landscaped paved parking area.

Pittman stated that his group is working on donations and sponsorships from all the civic clubs. He also said they are working with local contractors and nurseries, along with other local businesses for in-kind donations.

Basically, the group is working with a shoestring budget. I mean a short shoestring, since the city has indicated they have no money to give for the project, but will give it’s blessings.

That’s a shame. We have a great little piece of history right in the heart of our little town. There are some very unique businesses, and historical businesses located there. Their sweat and blood for helping make this town what it is today deserves more than just a blessing.

If you or your civic group is asked to participate, please consider it strongly. The square is something we can’t let fade away into obscurity, and I ain’t jokin’ with you!


(Jim Beaver can be reached by email at: publisher@panolian.com

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