By Joel Hall
Early next year, the city of Jonesboro is expected to move forward on its $3 million downtown renovation project. Historical Jonesboro, an organization dedicated to preserving the history of Clayton County, is honoring the occasion by selling commemorative bricks.
Starting this week, Historical Jonesboro will begin selling engraved bricks. Much like the ones at Centennial Olympic Park, the bricks will allow people to stop, reflect, and appreciate the new downtown Jonesboro, according to Barbara Emert, president of Historical Jonesboro.
"I think it makes the Streetscape a little more interesting," said Emert. "Residents can go and find a brick for their family or someone they know. They might stay there and linger a little bit and then linger into one of the shops.
"I think it will make the Streetscape a little more special to the residents and the tourists will find it intriguing," Emert continued. "A lot of places do that as a way to honor people. They might not know the people, but they may be interested to find out."
Within the last decade, downtown Jonesboro has experienced a considerable amount of commercial decline.
By the end of the first quarter of next year, the city is expected to begin the 18-month process of redeveloping the area. The project will include burying power lines, adding new sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, seating, trees, and landscaping, and making the downtown area handicapped accessible.
Luther Maddox, mayor of Jonesboro, believes the bricks will help bring people back to the downtown area.
"Since the [Clayton County] courthouse has been moved from downtown, which was the biggest mistake ever for Jonesboro, it's been an uphill battle to revitalize the downtown area," said Maddox. "[The bricks are] just a good point of interest. It gives people a reason to come downtown. People will try to find their name and anybody else's who is there.
"One hundred and fifty years from now, that brick will still be there and whoever sees it will know that person was here one way or another," Maddox added. "I encourage everyone to buy a brick and let the next generation know that we were here."
Historical Jonesboro is selling the commemorative bricks for $35 per brick, or $100 for three bricks.
Each brick can contain up to three lines with 18 letters per line. People who place their orders by Dec. 19 will receive a commemorative certificate.
For more information, contact Historical Jonesboro at (770) 473-0197.