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story.lead_photo.caption A billboard on State Line Avenue near Churches Chicken on the Arkansas-side of town will remain up another six months. "We are keeping the old design," said Ina McDowell, Main Street Texarkana executive director. "Not only is that financially sound, but we like the design." Staff photo by Junius Stone

TEXARKANA — Despite gray clouds and drizzle, more than 300 Texarkana art and food fans made it downtown for the first-ever Downtown Live on May 21, where local artists displayed their wares at downtown venues, showed off their crafts and more.

"Even with the rain, attendance beat our expectations for the event," said Ina McDowell, Main Street Texarkana executive director on Wednesday, at the organization's June meeting. "Folks were ready to get out and support local art and our artists were waiting for them. We always planned on more of these, at first thinking of a quarterly schedule. But demand is so high, we are going monthly and laying in plans.

"Our artists were so enthused, one of them has offered to put up 10% of his sales proceeds from this event to help support Main Street Texarkana."

McDowell said officials from the board were in Little Rock for the announcement of more grant funds to be announced by Governor Asa Hutchison, related to Arkansas Heritage Program and Main Street Arkansas.

"We are expecting an increase in funds because we used all of the available funds last year," McDowell said.

In other business, "we have also closed on the loan for Blueline Technology and their purchase of the downtown bus station, now the new home of KLFI TV," she said. "They are now in the process of setting up the new TV station facilities there."

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