Texarkana Partnership Launches Federal Courthouse/Post Office Improvement Project Downtown
Work on the Federal Courthouse/Post Office Improvement project will begin later this month. Led by the Texarkana Arts & Historic District, the Courthouse Square Connections Project is a dual city effort to increase walkability and enhance the area around the existing United States Post Office and Federal Courthouse in downtown.
Many local partners have joined together to make this project possible, including the City of Texarkana, Texas, the City of Texarkana, Arkansas, Texarkana, Arkansas Advertising & Promotion Commission, Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, - Texarkana Arts & Historic District (including the cities and the Chamber plus Main Street Texarkana, the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, the Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council, the Texarkana Museums System), a National Endowment for the Arts Grant (Public Art), and the Texarkana Wilbur Smith Rotary Club (Donation of Trees). There has also been a local resident design team involved in the planning efforts that is part of a number of Leadership Texarkana Strategic Doing Groups citywide.
As one of our community’s main attractions, the downtown Texarkana Federal Courthouse and Post Office lures hundreds of visitors and residents alike to downtown Texarkana. The Post Office is so unique that it has been noted to be the 2nd most photographed federal courthouse in the United States, and remains one of the main tourism draws for Texarkana’s downtown.
Built in 1931, the United States Post Office and Courthouse has remained the most prominent structure in Texarkana, due in no small measure to its location. The regularity of the downtown street grid is interrupted by the north-south path of State Line Avenue, that separates Texas and Arkansas. Located between Fifth and Sixth Streets, the federal building ensures its pivotal presence by occupying the sole site in the center of State Line Avenue. By straddling the boundary between two states, the building uniquely evinces its federal nature and function; no other federal building in the country is sited in two states, according to the Press Release.
The multi-year planning effort to improve the area around the United States Post Office and Courthouse began in 2015 with several project goals and objectives. The project goals include:
- Improve pedestrian safety by expanding existing sidewalks and including additional crosswalks,
- Improve vehicle safety by closing 5th Street entrance and
- Preserve history by reclaiming a portion of the original brick streets. Additionally, the plan includes enhancements to the area around the existing United States Post Office and Federal Courthouse with a new tourist kiosk, public art, expanded green space and an area for food truck vendors.
The cities have entered into an interlocal agreement for the improvements with the Texarkana, Texas share coming from previously approved 2017 Capital Improvement Plan Bond Funds and Texarkana, Arkansas contributing in-kind construction work as well as previous funding from the Texarkana, Arkansas A&P Commission. The project is anticipated to begin near the end of August and is scheduled to be completed by March 2021.
For more information and construction updates on the Courthouse Square Connections Project, check out www.visittexarkanadistrict.com.
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