Proposed modifications to the exterior of the frame shop filed

After a lengthy discussion Thursday, the El Dorado Historic District Commission took no action on an application for a certificate of adequacy for a proposed improvement project at a downtown business.

Instead, curators and COA nominee Jennifer Purinton — owner of Purely Creative, an art/picture frame shop, formerly Creative Means, at 114 W. Main — agreed that Purinton would flesh out the details and compile more information about the proposed project project.

Purinton has submitted a COA that includes painting an existing awning; paint the woodwork of the building; add removable wooden shutters to window inserts on the upper floor; and paint a new mural on a wooden canvas on the west side (Cleveland Avenue) of the building.

The new mural would replace an existing mural and feature a creek and flora native to the area, Purinton said.

Certificates of Authenticity are required for most exterior projects in the city’s historic commercial district.

Elizabeth Eggleston, executive director of the El Dorado Historic District Commission, noted that the building, which is owned by Trimble Properties, is a contributing structure in the commercial historic district – meaning the building is at least 50 years old and has not been significantly altered from its original appearance.

Purinton said the building was constructed in 1925.

She also told the commissioners that the upper floor windows were covered two decades ago.

Commissioner Eric Wallace inquired about the type of wood that will be used for the project, if the wood will be treated and how long it will last.

Purinton said the wood will be treated and she was unsure of its shelf life.

“Do they have to be wood or could they be composite?” asked commissioner Steve Biernacki.

He referenced a building trend in which recycled plastic is used to build decks and patios, saying the material is more durable and weather resistant than wood.

The commissioners and Purinton also discussed paint colors, with Purinton indicating hues that closely match the brickwork of the building – a design guideline that was referenced by the commissioners.

The EHDC also suggested that Purinton consider applying for a mini-grant from Main Street El Dorado to help with the project.

MSE offers an annual mini-grants program to help downtown businesses and homeowners with improvement projects, such as painting and new awnings.

The grants are funded by the Downtown Revitalization Grants which are awarded annually by the local Main Street and Arkansas Downtown Network programs of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

Last year, MSE received a DTR grant of $25,000 and $15,000 of the amount was allocated to the mini-grants program.

Purinton told EHDC members that she had already spoken to Beth Brumley, executive director of MSE, about the next round of mini-grants and learned that the application period should open in a few weeks.

She also mentioned problems with a tree and a grate on the west side of the building and the commissioners advised her to speak with Robert Edmonds, City Manager of Public Works, about it.

“We address public safety issues (in the historic commercial district) because we don’t want anyone tripping or falling and getting hurt,” Eggleston later said.

During the meeting, Purinton said a decorative bench in front of the store was also cracked and will have to be removed at some point due to security risks.

EHDC President Ken Bridges inquired about a timeline for the Purely Creative project and Purinton said it was working to gather cost estimates and other details for the various components of the project.

“Let her come back and get her checklist and bring it back to us,” commissioner Sara Coffman suggested. “It’s crazy to do bits and pieces and not do it all.”

Bridges added, “All of that together is also what you would want to put on your (mini-grant) application.”

Coffman told Purinton she hopes the work will be completed by next February, explaining that El Dorado will host the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism in 2023.

Coffman is part of a local committee working with the state to organize and coordinate the conference, which will be held in El Dorado for the first time in the event’s nearly 50-year history.

“I would like this done as soon as possible,” Purinton said.

About Debra D. Johnson

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