Downtown Ozark Revitalization

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Mark Blankenship has been slowly restoring parts of downtown Ozark for years.

What started as renovating homes on Broad Street has now turned into creating better business space for downtown.

Blankenship is renovating three downtown businesses.

His work includes completely reworking the inside and selling to use it as business space.

Two of his three spaces are already looking to be filled. That's even before the work is complete.

"It's hard to attract people down here when the buildings are in such bad shape. It's leaking, the wiring and plumbing isn't up-to-date. We're just simply trying to buy some of those buildings and renovate them in hopes it'll attract people to the downtown area," says Blankenship.

However, Blankenship isn't the only one trying to bring life to the area.

City leaders have been using KPS Planning Group from Birmingham to survey the downtown area, to develop a plan to make the space come back alive.

City leaders say in order to make this a historic district all canopies must be removed.

However, not all businessmen think that's a good idea.

"It's just a win/win situation for everybody. It's a lot of tax incentives, a lot of tax breaks for the building owners. It's also something to draw people downtown to say that we have a historical district," says Robin Beasley, Assistant Economic Development Director.

No official plans have been made to make any changes to downtown Ozark.

Right now, it's still up to owners, like Blankenship to make any renovations.

At a revitalization meeting, Ozark residents were concerned of a lack of businesses and limited parking spaces in downtown.

KPS will consider additional complaints when developing a plan to revitalize downtown.

They'll meet with city officials on February 22nd.