SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Emma Avenue in Springdale is set to close for construction next week until Spring 2023. Business owners in the area are excitedly looking ahead to what the finished result will be but worried about how it will impact their businesses.
Buck Ahrens owns Emma Avenue Bar & Tap. He’s owned the bar for six years. He says the construction in the downtown area has been a nuisance, but he’s really worried about the new construction project on Emma Avenue.
He’s worried people will avoid the entire area and all the businesses along the road so that they don’t have to deal with the construction and traffic.
“The street directly in front of my business closing is going to have an impact, no doubt,” said Ahrens.
The project will close down Emma Avenue from Spring Street to Holcomb Street for about six months, according to the Downtown Springdale Alliance.
The plan is to realign the greenway on Emma, among other things.
“They are going to be putting in additional infrastructure for irrigation to improve the landscaping through there. They’re doing a sewer main improvement project,” said Jill Dabbs with the Downtown Springdale Alliance.
Dabbs said the alliance will work to help business owners who may be affected by the construction. She also mentioned that parking should not be affected and sidewalks will still be walkable.
“We’ll promote specials that they have. We will mention them in our social media posts and newsletters throughout the next six months,” said Dabbs.
Jennifer Matsubara has owned Shelby Lynn’s Cake Shoppe on Emma Avenue for over 20 years. She said the construction’s impact is a “little crippling”. She’s hoping once the road is shut down, people will still think to stop by shops along the stretch.
“Take that extra five minutes, come down, see us. Visit us, support us, especially with the holiday shopping season coming up,” said Matsubara.
Matsubara is especially concerned for businesses that are just getting up and running.
“I’ve talked to a lot of my clients, a lot of my friends who say we’re staying away from downtown right now because of the construction,” said Matsubara.
Businesses are excited to see the end result and think the pain now could be worth it. However, they want to make sure they’re accounted for. Matsubara said these revitalization efforts are years in the making and she’s excited to see everything coming together.
“When it’s all said and done, it’s going to be a big benefit for downtown Springdale. It’s just getting there that’s going to be hard,” said Ahrens.
Emma Avenue is expected to be closed to traffic on September 26. Dabbs said it could be later in the week before the construction is officially underway.