Little Rock’s downtown renaissance

posted by rexnelson on March 13th, 2014

Artisanal cheese, expensive bicycles, boutique hotels, ballet studios, hip restaurants, cigar bars. Is this downtown Little Rock or is this Portland?

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Hot Springs: Up from the ashes

posted by rexnelson on February 28th, 2014

It won’t be cheap. It won’t be without its headaches. It won’t happen as quickly as some of us would like. But out of the ashes of the Majestic Hotel, a better downtown Hot Springs can arise.

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The three Rs for downtown Hot Springs

posted by rexnelson on February 26th, 2014

The response to the previous Southern Fried post shows that there is a deep love across this state for downtown Hot Springs. All Arkansans have a vested interest in seeing that downtown Hot Springs is renewed, refreshed and revived. Here are some suggestions from someone who grew up down the road and has watched the changes in downtown Hot Springs for more than four decades.

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The shame of Hot Springs

posted by rexnelson on February 21st, 2014

They nailed plywood over the windows of the old Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs this week. Every Arkansan — all 3 million of us — should be ashamed of what we’ve allowed to occur in downtown Hot Springs. It’s our Bourbon Street, our Beale Street, our Canal Street, our San Antonio Riverwalk. And it needs to be saved.

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Little Rock’s Lafayette Hotel

posted by rexnelson on February 18th, 2014

Chad and Jessica Gallagher of De Queen and Scott and Deborah Ferguson of West Memphis hope not only to sell the remaining 10 condos and rent the remaining office space in the downtown Little Rock building that once housed the Lafayette Hotel. They also want to make the Lafayette the gathering spot it was in its hotel days with a restaurant, retail establishments and private functions. With nearby Main Street now filled with ongoing developments than promise an increased number of people on the sidewalks at all hours, they might just pull it off.

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Building Pine Bluff — Ramsay, May, Makris

posted by rexnelson on February 5th, 2014

It was a delight to open the newspaper early Sunday morning and see George Makris Jr. gracing the front of the High Profile section. I had noted in my weekly newspaper column just four days earlier how Makris fell in line with his predecessors as CEO of Simmons First National Bank. Those predecessors were Arkansas business legends Louis Ramsay and Tommy May, both members of the state’s Business Hall of Fame.

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Texarkana: Twice as nice

posted by rexnelson on January 30th, 2014

That big water tank along Interstate 30 long has declared that Texarkana is “twice as nice.” Count me in for lunch at Bryce’s Cafeteria and supper at the Cattleman’s Steak House on State Line Avenue.

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Searcy County: Chocolate Roll Capital of the World

posted by rexnelson on January 24th, 2014

I like to think that I know a lot about Arkansas. But I’ll admit that I had no idea until recently that Searcy County is the Chocolate Roll Capital of the World.

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The duck season ends

posted by rexnelson on January 21st, 2014

As another Arkansas duck season nears its conclusion, let’s visit a place where the mallards were working and the red wasps were swarming on mild winter afternoons. Let’s visit Broadwater on the Cache River.

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A new preservation ethos

posted by rexnelson on January 16th, 2014

Raised in a small home near Dyess in the cotton fields of Mississippi County, Joanne Cash Yates made it clear last Friday night at the Clinton Center that she’s proud to be from Arkansas. You might have heard of Joanne’s older brother. He was known in his adult years as Johnny and played a little music.

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