SPARTA, Mo. – Downtown areas, once vibrant and full of life, continue to diminish in numerous small towns across the Ozarks. City leaders in Sparta are hoping to see that change in their community.

The city recently purchased the downtown building that used to be the home of Legacy Bank.

Sparta Mayor Jenni Davis said the building holds the potential to house more local businesses with available space to lease and to serve as a community meeting place. 

“Maybe the front half is where the businesses, the offices will go,” said Davis. “Maybe the back half is going to be more geared to the community center side of it. We purchased the entire lot for $245,000.”

Davis said the purchase should bring more attention to Sparta, while maintaining the small-town charm.

Kaitlyn McConnell, the founder of Ozarks Alive, said she is glad to see towns taking this step.

“You see empty storefronts,” said McConnell. “You see signs that are faded. Things that you knew that this was important in the past and people have moved on. It’s just not the same as it was years ago.”

McConnell said West Plains, Ozark and Ava are all good examples of places also trying to invest in the downtown area.

In Sparta, a town hall meeting will be held to assess community needs and discuss additional possible uses for the property.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29.

More information on the location of the meeting will be announced.