WALNUT RIDGE — The city of Walnut Ridge received a boost this month from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
Downtown Walnut Ridge and the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce were honored with the 2012 Bootstrap Award, one of several annual Henry Awards given by the department at a ceremony and banquet each year.
The Bootstrap Award is given annually to “an individual, organization or community that has achieved significant success on a shoestring, having limited means to work with, either in resources or finances,” according to the department.
Tourism Development Manager Donna Perrin said downtown Walnut Ridge stood out specifically for the work the city and chamber of commerce had done with Beatles Park, the Guitar Walk at Cavenaugh Park and the designation of a segment of U.S. 67 as Rock ’n’ Roll Highway 67.
The park, along with a sculpture unveiled in late 2011, marks the visit The Beatles made to the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport in 1964. It was the band’s only visit to the state.
“Each of these community landmarks gives the history of Walnut Ridge’s varied musical heritage,” Perrin said in an email. “The efforts of downtown Walnut Ridge and the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce provide enjoyment and economic opportunity through tourism.”
Perrin also noted that the work of resident Charles Hammer Snapp stood out to voters for the award.
“He volunteers countless hours of fundraising efforts,” Perrin said. “Charles bought a building with seven storefronts in downtown Walnut Ridge … and began the task of modifying the building to maintain the historic integrity while making a home for what now is known as Beatles Park.”
The annual Henry Awards have been given since 1981 and are named for Henri de Tonti, the founder of Arkansas Post. Other finalists for the Bootstrap Award included the city of Siloam Springs and the Sugarloaf Foundation. Walnut Ridge was also a finalist for the 2012 Community Tourism Development Henry Award.
Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or firstname.lastname@example.org.