A new partnership is cleaning up blight in the Cherry Street Historic District in Helena, Arkansas. Main Street Helena, lead by Board President Julie Goings Strayhorn and Executive Director Shane Williams, has joined forces with the City of Helena-West Helena and Helena Harbor to remove blight in buildings that cannot be rehabilitated.
This morning, the first fruits of that partnership were harvested. On Walnut Street, the partially collapsed Allied Printing building was taken down by employees of the City of Helena-West Helena. Funding from Main Street Helena will enable the debris to be hauled off by a private contractor. The remaining building next door will be rehabilitated by its current owners as event venue with an open air seating area.
Helena-West Helena Mayor Jay Hollowell secured an agreement with the property owner of the collapsed building to get it cleaned up without having to resort to administrative action. A portion of the old bricks from the project will be used to provide fill for other city projects, thus reducing the debris going into the local landfill. The Helena-West Helena/Phillips County Port Authority (Helena Harbor) is serving as the project coordinator for the cleanup.
Several other buildings in the area are being surveyed in order to determine which can be candidates for stabilization so they can be saved for future retail and mixed use development. It is the goal of the organizations involved to save every historic building that can be practically saved.