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Main Street raising money to expand Then and Now project

by Janelle Jessen | April 7, 2021 at 5:30 a.m.
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Main Street Siloam Springs is raising money during April to add interpretive plaques with QR codes to local buildings as part of the nonprofit's award winning Downtown Then and Now project.

The addition of plaques and QR codes will allow residents and visitors to learn the history of the buildings as they walk through downtown, according to Stacy Morris, Main Street executive director. The QR codes will direct people to the organization's website, where they will be able to use the interactive Then and Now feature to find out more information about the building.

The plaques will help educate those who visit downtown about the story of the community and the importance of preserving the historic district, according to Main Street's April newsletter.

"It's just another way to make the heart of our community an attraction and a destination where (people) find out everything we have and they can learn the history too," said Morris.

Main Street has catalogued 51 buildings on its website. Each entry includes information about the building's history and architecture, as well as details for potential investors, such as whether the building is located in the qualified opportunity zone or the National Register District, or if it is eligible for the historic tax credit or local Main Street Siloam Springs Grant. Each entry also includes a split photo, with a historical photo of the building on one side and a current photo on the other. A slider that allows the viewer to switch back and forth.

In January, Main Street Siloam Springs won the 2020 award for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education in Digital Media from Preserve Arkansas for the project.

Morris hopes to add plaques to all 51 buildings in the coming year. During this year's NWA Gives, Main Street has set the goal of raising $2,500 for the project by April 30, she said. NWA Gives is a nonprofit that hosts a day of giving for Northwest Arkansas nonprofits each April. The fundraiser for Main Street will go live on April 8 on Pure Charity at tinyurl.com/eu2ws7r3.

To view the Then and Now Historic Building Registry, visit mainstreetsiloam.org.

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