Main Street Batesville Announces New Downtown Business: The Food Lot

Main Street Batesville has announced the latest business development for the ever-growing downtown district: a food truck park.

The future park, called The Food Lot, which will transform two vacant lots at the corner of Central and College, according to owners Steve and Wendy Lewis, Shailendra Singh, and Jyoti Chaudhary. The park is currently under construction and plans are to open for businesses in late March or early April.

Already popular developments in many larger cities, food truck parks allow mobile restaurants a place to permanently locate for a fee. Such parks typically include water and electric hookups, as well as outdoor seating and sometimes restroom facilities – all amenities that the trucks on their own are usually unable to offer customers.

“We want to have tables for people to sit and hang out,” Wendy Lewis described of the facility. “And we want to be as year-round as possible.”

Batesville city ordinance, as is normal in many cities, requires transient businesses to obtain a permit and to move periodically, not occupying the same place for more than the permit’s set amount of time. Special zoning was approved by the city for the food truck park so that the trucks could remain in one place.

Owner Steve Lewis hopes the park will bring both beautification and vibrancy to the long-abandoned corner. He said a good power-washing is in the works, along with a potential wall mural, and possibly other landscaping/beautification efforts in the longer term. “We have to get it up and running, and then hopefully continue to re-invest back into it.”

The downtown historic district has experienced a resurgence of economic growth and community interest in recent years, as revitalization efforts are spear-headed by the Main Street Batesville organization. The organization offers grants and services to businesses locating downtown.

The park will have stations for 8 businesses, available at monthly or daily rate. For more information, call 870-834-1375 or visit The Food Lot’s Facebook page.

Ginger Smith joined OGTC in 2014 as a volunteer, and has lived in this area since 1972 when she moved to be near her parents, the late Doss and Vivian Burgess. Her late father was Independence County Appraiser and any time family, whether kids or grand kids, came to visit for even a short time, he would take them to A.D. Hill’s grocery store, and get them a soda pop and candy bar, see the talking bird there, and end up “checking out the great White River.” All the kids and grands have played on the banks there, picnicked, and played on the old train. Ginger is adamant, since she moved to Batesville, there is just no other place to raise a family. Her love for the area and desire to help promote it in her professional capacity led her to seek volunteering, and Charlie Morris, whom she met when she was a typesetter at the Daily Guard Newspaper, put her in touch with Cathy Drew, Executor Director of OGTC. She has been on board since then and says she has loved everything she has done and is proud to represent North Central Arkansas.
The last 20 years of her employment she worked for the late County Judge David Wyatt, West Elementary School Principal Jerry Harris, and Circuit Clerk Claudia Nobles and Judge John Kemp. At the Guard Office she says she made friends for a life time, and then the West Elementary teachers, students, and their families grew close to her forever. Her last job she was hired in a newly created position to collect felony fines and restitution. She was so proud that after three years she more than tripled the annual revenues that she retired! Her part-time retirement job was with the ortho docs, Drs. Allen and Angel where she also met many people from all over the area, and made another set of new friends! She is a published writer and has also written feature articles for the Batesville Guard TV Guide and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
She has a daughter, Misty Long Sparks, son-in-law Dloyd Sparks, and three grands, Dalton Lee, Victoria Lynn and Anna Rose, who own her heart, and three more heartbeat grands, Nico and Corbin of Washington, and a late granddaughter, Ginger Savannah. Her late husband, Ken Smith, was the Batesville Postmaster.
Totally retired now, Ginger offers her time and writing abilities to OGTC as she travels around the state and visits with so many nice folks, writes reviews, and tries to be a worthy representative for Ozark Gateway Tourism. She is a people person who really cares for all God has blessed us with in our beautiful state of Arkansas in the United States of America.