Through another successful public-private partnership between the City of Hot Springs and the Park Avenue Community Association, the avenue’s first historic-style streetlight will be activated during a lighting ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, November 13 in front of DeLuca’s Pizzeria Napoletana, 407 Park Avenue in Hot Springs. PACA members, project supporters, city officials, volunteers, Light Uptown Park Avenue donors and the general public are welcome to attend.
Flipping the switch will be members of PACA, who have been raising funds with the goal of extending the specially-chosen, ornate streetlights throughout Uptown, as Park Avenue has quickly come to be known.
The City of Hot Springs executed a memorandum of understanding with PACA to install the streetlights along Park Avenue. PACA agreed to purchase each street light and set up the initial account for electrical service with Entergy. Once the light becomes operational and the first electric bill is received, PACA will submit the bill to the city. From that point on, the city is responsible for the electric bill and maintenance of the street light. The city’s Street Division will install the light foundations; the Traffic Division will install the electrical conduit and is responsible for the wiring; and McGrew Electric has agreed to provide electrical labor and expertise for the project, including setting the meter base and executing electrical terminations.
“The idea of the streetlights is to create a flavor for the neighborhood of Park Avenue, while filling in the gap between the overhead street lighting and the sidewalk to make pedestrians and bicyclists safer at night,” explained Angie Ezekiel, PACA president.
Through the leadership and cooperation of Park Avenue residents, many who are passionate about the revitalizing the area, an impressive list of neighborhood improvements have been completed in recent years. A combination of grant funding, city support and old-fashioned elbow grease has resulted in improved sidewalks; bike lanes throughout the majority of Park Avenue; increased pedestrian safety through crosswalks, bus shelters, bumpouts and crossing lights; rain gardens that add beauty and absorb stormwater; the Park Haven community garden, bursting with vitality and drawing in new residents; and the innovative David F. Watkins Memorial Park, a project-in-progress which brings many unique elements to the area, most notably a neighborhood park where none previously existed. The improvements have spawned additional economic activity and community pride, including new businesses, new residents, freshly painted storefronts, a food truck court with regular outdoor entertainment, and more.
“Interacting with the residents of the Park Avenue area through many improvement projects, city staff knows that they’re going to roll up their sleeves and work with us,” said Public Works Director Denny McPhate. “Their first new streetlight is another sign of their ongoing commitment to Park Avenue’s progress.”
For information about the Light Uptown Park Avenue program, call 655-1255.