Park Hill: The new Hillcrest?

    10:29 PM, Nov 4, 2013   |    comments
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    NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) You can almost call it a city within a city. The historic Hillcrest neighborhood in Little Rock is home to nearly a dozen restaurants and all of them have one thing in common.

    "I think it's a no brainer. A lot of people would like to have a beer, a glass of wine or even a mixed drink with their dinner just to relax so I think it's a draw to places that have it as opposed to places that don't," says Cole Treece, General Manager of Canon Grill.

    He says Canon Grill has been open since 1997 and has always served beer, wine and alcohol along with every other restaurant in the area.

    But just across the river in Park Hill, it's the exact opposite. It is a historic neighborhood with a few businesses but few restaurants and several empty buildings looking for occupants. Andre's Coffee Shop opened up in Park Hill four months ago hoping the upcoming vote to lift the ban on alcohol would result in more development and more business.

    "If that building over there and that one there opened, people would be coming over here all the time," says employee Michael Hale pointing out several opportunities for restaurants or bars.

    Hale says business at the coffee shop is starting slow but if voters lift the ban on alcohol sales that could all change.

    "When the people came in with the petition to get it going, I said to them this place is going to be like a new Hillcrest or a new Heights area," says Hale.

    After restaurants became a hit in Hillcrest, Treece says other businesses opened up too bringing more people and more money to the area.

    "If you have restaurants, it brings other people in so other businesses feed off those restaurants. In fact in most shopping centers, you always have restaurants as an anchor to help bring people in. It's just a draw," says Treece.

    It's a draw Hale hopes will come to Park Hill creating more jobs and more business for Andre's Coffee Shop.

    "We really need this here. It think it's going to expand so many horizons. I think it's going to open a lot of doors and it's going to create jobs. It's going to provide opportunities that we need here. We definitely need them here," says Hale.

    Some residents oppose lifting the ban because they believe alcohol sales could drive up crime in the area. Chamber Leader Terry Hartwick disagrees saying while businesses will be able to serve, liquor stores will not be allowed.

    The Pulaski County Election Commission has set early voting for Nov. 5-8 for the Nov. 12 election. Early voting will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at both the William F. Laman Library, 2801 Orange St. and at the Pulaski County Regional Building, 501 W. Markham.

    The election will be open to voters registered in the voting districts of 4D, 4E, 4K,4M, 4P and 4Q along either side of J.F.K. Blvd. north of Interstate 40.

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