Main Street Texarkana will present a new business loan of $30,000 to Johnny B’s Grill for its new downtown location at 224 E. 5th Street in Texarkana, Ark.

Downtown executives are looking forward to the restaurant moving into the area where it will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, said Ina McDowell, Main Street Texarkana, executive director.

Expected to open late summer, the restaurant will serve as a second location for owners Sheila and Wendell Crossland.  Texarkana locals had been eating at their original restaurant out of town, and encouraged the couple to open a similar diner in Texarkana.  The Crosslands had been considering the new location for about a year and finally decided on the former Glass Pharmacy location.

Just across from the downtown U.S. Federal Courthouse and Post Office, the new restaurant will fill a need for breakfast and other meals in the high traffic area. This is also our most popular tourist stop, McDowell added, which will help keep visitors in the downtown area longer.

The new Johnny B’s is using the original design of the historic building to create a 50s-style experience. Interior design includes a Coke red-and-white theme, serving drinks and food reminiscent of the time. The Crosslands like to offer a place for locals to stay and visit over coffee, and a meal, McDowell said. Main Street Arkansas design consultants provided design assistance for signage, and building use. Working with a local contractor, and the City of Texarkana, Ark., Main Street Texarkana was able to assist in making a historic building become a new establishment.

"Our goal is economic development and vitality through historic preservation," she added.

The Main Street Texarkana downtown business loan is among incentives built to drive new business and development of the historic downtown area. Grants are also available for downtown property and business owners in Arkansas. Main Street Texarkana recently received a new matching grant of $15,000 from the State of Arkansas that will be available soon.

Applications for the business loan and Arkansas grant are available through the Main Street Texarkana website.

Main Street Texarkana is volunteer lead with one staff person. It has a board of 13 members who work daily to serve its mission of promoting and developing downtown.  "They recognize the importance of economic development in downtown as it relates to the success of the entire community," McDowell said. "Downtown is the heart of our Texarkana," she added.

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,000 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $65.6 billion in new public and private investment, generated 556,960 net new jobs and 126,476 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 260,000 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

For more information on Main Street Texarkana, or to support the local program as an investing member, visit Main Street Texarkana.