A pair of powerful women has swept through downtown Texarkana. They are humble, but mighty, making meaningful progress little by little. Beverly Rowe and Brandy Aaron have taken matters into their own hands by creating Texarkana Downtown Neighbors Association, a group dedicated to improving downtown on both sides of Stateline.
The ladies are inseparable, working together to tackle any project Rowe entertains. Their companionship can be traced back to over 5 years ago, when Aaron was a history major at Texarkana College and enrolled in courses Rowe taught.
Aaron is a transplant from Fort Smith and Rowe is a native of Colorado. The source of their love for downtown Texarkana is difficult to identify or pinpoint. Aaron is a transplant from Fort Smith and Rowe is a native of Colorado.
“I think the love for Texarkana is exceedingly strong because everyone else wrote it off,” explained Rowe.
“It is such a pretty place. When I would ask about downtown, people would say, ‘bulldoze it!’ I waited 30 years for someone to pick up the torch and no one did.”
Now, Rowe is known as the “Mother” of downtown. This title wasn’t earned overnight. Rather, her labor intensive love for her home garners this role.
Their friendship isn’t all work and no play. While Aaron was a student enrolled in Rowe’s courses, she participated in oversea trips to London, Italy, Rome,and Paris.
“Ok, thats what its all about,” recalls Rowe in regard to seeing a photograph of Aaron standing next to the Rosetta Stone. It was a lifelong dream fulfilled for Aaron.
Rowe explained that it is important for students to experience different cultures from their own in today’s global market. That is how Aaron found her way into the Rowe family, working her way to afford trips to Europe.
“I asked her if she wanted some hard work and she foolishly said yes,” laughed Rowe.
“If i didn’t have Brandy, I could come up with a thousand ideas, but would need someone to help me, just like with the Christmas lights downtown.”
Aaron convinced Rowe that they should approach the Texarkana, Arkansas Advertising & Promotions Committee to procure funds for Texarkana DNA to decorate downtown.
“We went into the A&P and requested $12,000 to decorate the roofs downtown,” explained Rowe confidently.
The approval enabled Rowe, Aaron, Larry White, Jeff Sandifur and John Littman to order lights and decorate.
“We slung liquid nails for about a week,” laughed Rowe and Aaron.
These small but mighty, service oriented women have a passion for the history of downtown Texarkana and they aren’t afraid to put in the blood, sweat, and tears to make something happen.
“Labor intensive, that is the key right there,” laughed Rowe.
“If you want people to come downtown you turn on the light and sweep the porch,” she emphasized.
When the ladies began decorating the windows downtown in the fall, they purchased as much garland and decor as they could afford. They later approached businesses on Broad Street about a window decorating contest for Christmas. When everyone agreed, Texarkana DNA brought their idea to Main Street and they agreed to fund the competition with a $1,000 prize.
The Christmas decorations helped bring traffic to downtown and people inside the businesses.
“We have to give kudos to the Gazette. We approached them about decorating a window for the contest and they went above and beyond by decorating every window. They did a bang up job,” said Rowe.
The larger plan is to have everyone decorate for all 4 seasons, around the clock consistently.
The next project Texarkana DNA is undertaking is a kiosk prototype. This informative device will display the time, temperature, and information relevant to downtown events, businesses and landmarks.
Larry White will construct the kiosks, which will feature the turret design from the original Offenhauser building on Stateline. Texarkana DNA aspires to have 6 kiosks strategically placed around downtown.
Rowe is full of endless ideas to improve downtown. She also hopes to put a large statue of the first Texarkana mayors shaking hands on the block of Magness Financial.
“The difference in Texarkana DNA is that I am the housewife with the broom and Brandy is the one with the dustpan. Others ask for larger projects. We are the ones who have the cookies baked and the street clean,” she chuckled to herself.