FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — Demolition is happening in Fort Smith this week to create a new parking plaza.
First National Bank Fort Smith is creating the space in hopes of not only adding more parking but to bring more people to the area.
Crews are working to tear down the two buildings that sit in front of their downtown branch on 6th and Garrison Avenue.
The new space will add parking, landscaping and a small staging area for events like concerts and fundraisers.
“It will be very heavily landscaped, and it’s something the community I think will be very proud of with all the landscape,” First National Bank Fort Smith President Sam Sicard said. “We’re gonna put in, and it will really open up this area to the buildings and create a great plaza for the center of our downtown.”
Other business owners downtown said they were happy with this addition to the area.
“I think it’s fantastic, I was thrilled when I was the plans for it just to have another space for families to come, to play downtown, to park downtown, and then also the greenspace it’s just going to beautify that corner and I love that First National has made that investment for our community downtown,” said Beth Price, owner of Belle Starr antiques.
The bank is demolishing two vacant buildings to make space. Sicard says it will be nice to have more parking in the area.
“We thought it would be best to just open the whole thing up and provide it for a venue for a public space for various events as well as parking during the day,” he said.
Price says she is thrilled that other businesses are taking the time to invest in Downtown Fort Smith.
“I’m proud, I’m proud of our community, and I’m proud of our downtown. There’s a lot of people that are really working hard to make investments to bring more people down here and to preserve what we do have and to bring it to the future as well so I’m just proud to be a part of our downtown and I’m proud of it,” she said.
The bank says during business hours, the parking will be mainly for bank customers and team members but will be free and open to the public on weekends and evenings.
They hope to have the project complete by the end of the year.