Locals here talk a great deal about "sense of place" and "place making" and "quality of life" here in Conway. Sometimes it’s difficult to define what those terms mean.
Ed McMahon, Senior Fellow, Urban Land Institute, defines it this way, "a sense of place is a unique collection of qualities and characteristics - visual, cultural, social, and environmental - that provide meaning to a location. Sense of place is what makes one city or town different from another, but sense of place is also what makes our physical surroundings worth caring about."
In Conway, one of the best examples of sense of place are the hanging baskets in downtown. Downtown Conway is known around the state and the region, for our hanging baskets.
Lloyd Westbrook, former, President and CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce is credited for starting that tradition. However, it is Conway’s visitors and residents that give life to the terms, "place making" and "quality of life", with comments like, "the hanging baskets are so beautiful", and "we can’t believe downtown Conway is so beautiful" or "I am proud to call Conway my hometown". That is "sense of place" in its simplest terms.
This year there are 396 hanging baskets adorning the lamp-posts that line the sidewalks of downtown Conway. The baskets encompass 20 blocks from Spruce Street in the north to Deer Street at the south and from Harkrider to Locust Streets. The Conway Downtown Partnership would like to thank Toad Suck Daze Festival for its contribution to the baskets. This is Toad Suck Daze Festival’s way of giving back to downtown.
Also rolling into downtown are the new Zagster Bikes! The bikes are part of the City of Conway’s new on-demand public bike-share program.
This is the first program of its kind in the state. You can find five stations throughout Conway and two of those are located in downtown. One station is located at Simon Park and the other is located in front of the Chamber building.
• Art Experience is an art and picture framing gallery displaying and selling the work of regional artists, dedicated to exquisite frame designing while skillfully protecting and preserving your artwork and other treasured memorabilia using conservation framing methods. The shop now is open at 1027 Front St. Find out more at www.artexperienceinc.com or follow ArtExperienceCoway on Facebook for more about this new downtown business.
• Carmen’s Art & Antiques, 1022 Oak St., is holding na inventory reduction sale. For details and information on local artists featured at the shop, follow carmensartandantiques on Facebook.
• Board & Brush is now open in Conway, 1875 McKennon St., St. 500. Wood sign workshops, public classes, private parties and corporate events are accomodated. For more, log onto boardandbrush.com/conway. Come build on-trend, farmhouse classic, inspirational pieces and other decor for your home.
• Lefler’s is hosting a 30 percent off sale on spring and summer Tribal for a limited time. Find out more and view new arrivals by following Leflers on Facebook.
• Malvern National Bank is open downtown at 1025 Markham St.
• The summer sale at Tickled Pink, 1008 Oak St., features 30-75 percent off selected merchandise for a limited time. Select and retired Brighton items are 40 percent off now. Follow TickledPinkConwayAR for the latest announcements and arrivals.
• Special Expressions, 1110 Oak St., is located in the heart of downtown Conway and is a unique gift shop that specializes in personalizing and monograming. Also featured is a line of jewelry Evelyn & Osco. This jewelry includes one-of-a-kind pieces and custom-made items. School teacher Kaylie Kendrick and Kelly McCabe launched their designs in April. Mention "Downton Dollop" for a 10 percent discount through the end of June. Follow specialexpressions.net on Facebook for updates and offerings.
• It’s back! Cross Creek Sandwich Shop’s, 1003 W. Oak St., seasonal favorite Berry Spinach Salad - for a limited time only! To learn about lunch specials and other fun happenings, follow crosscreeksandwichshop on Facebook.
• Mondays, kids 12 and and under eat free at Senior Tequila with an adult entree. College students can enjoy 50 percent off a specialty or combo meal every Wednesday and Thursday with a student ID.
• Streetside Creperie, 1321 West. Oak St., offers savory, sweet and seasonal offerings daily. Follow them at streetsidecreperie on Facebook.
• ZaZa Fine Salad & Wood Oven Pizza at the Village at Hendrix is now serving brunch every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get full details on Instgram, Twitter and zazaconway on Facebook.
• Blackbird Academy of Arts has openings for summer camps including, art, acting and more. Get info by following blackbirdacademy on Facebook.
• 2017 Women Bike Arkansas will host a FREE bicycle clinic each Monday and Thursday through Sept. 16. Three training levels are offered. Log onto womenbikearkansas on Facebook for more.
• C2 Powersports of Conway and DeBoard Electronics held its grand opening on Friday. After 65 years on Oak Street, the company has expanded into a new larger space at 650 Dave Ward Drive. This building boasts 24,000 square feet of showroom, custom theatre spaces, a conference room, and lots more. Follow DeBoards on Facebook for updates, offerings and giveaways.
• The 2017 Conway Community Band Concert Series continues at 7:30 p.m. June 30 at Simon Park downtown. The event is free. Bring a lawn chair, blanket and a picnic to enjoy.
• Kings Live Music has a weekly lineup and ticket information at kings.conway on Facebook.
• St. Joseph Bazaar is set Aug. 4-5. Mark your calendars!
The Downtown Rundown is sponsored by the Conway Downtown Partnership and the Log Cabin Democrat. Information included in the bi-monthly column comes from Conway businesses that are members of the Partnership. Submit information to Kim Williams at email@example.com or call 501-932-5407 for more information.