Posted Date: 02/09/2023
By MAYOR JERRY JACKSON
Having the opportunity to enrich the lives of our community is a great honor and responsibility. The city is working on so many exciting projects; we can expect to see continuous progress throughout the next four years.
To me, progress means enhancing and bettering the lives of our community and growing our pride. The projects we have in place will better our lives in numerous ways. These will promote activity, provide entertainment, and attract others to visit, all of which will affect our economy and small businesses.
The Creekside Community Center is a great example of just all four forms of enhancement. This is a major project that the city is excited about, and it will be completed in four phases.
We have already begun work on phase 1, remodeling the old junior high school which will have various activity rooms, as well as a restoration of the original gym.
While the building renovations are expected to be completed this summer, we are in the early stage of phase 2, constructing a new multi-purpose gym that will connect to the junior high building. I am so glad we are able to breathe new life into this building that would have otherwise remained vacant.
Phase 3 is the Creekside Aquatics Center; our hope is to give families and children somewhere to go year-round where they can enjoy swimming, relaxing, and therapy while staying active. This will even include competition and hopefully a Goblin swim team.
Phase 4 will focus on an all-purpose trail where everyone is welcome to use this space to bike, run or enjoy the beautiful scenery that Harrison’s nature has to offer. This proposed trail will be divided into phases that we hope will allow us to obtain additional grant money, so we can start this project soon.
Additionally, there will be more trails to come outside of Creekside. Last year, the Harrison Exercise, Adventure, and Recreational Trail Committee (H.E.A.R.T) created a plan to add mountain bike trails. Thanks to their hard work, North Arkansas College, and a grant of $100,000 from the Walton Foundation, we have completed one trail and will start work on possibly two additional shortly.
The new Creekside Community Center, along with our other outdoor trail options, will help keep people in Harrison and revitalize downtown.
A revitalized downtown comes with projects all its own. We want downtown to be the heart of Harrison. Therefore, we want to create a walking pathway from Creekside Community Center to downtown, encouraging all to explore our many unique shops and restaurants that only Harrison offers. We also have a new and much-needed Main Street Bridge and are sprucing up Main Street north by adding more lighting, greenery and sidewalks to create a lovely entrance to our downtown.
Another large project that will enhance Harrison greatly and especially the downtown area is the restoration of Crooked Creek by returning it to its natural free-flowing creek. Just picture the creek with constant flowing water with lots of people and activities. I'm thankful that our local enthusiasts see this vision.
I look forward to continuing working with the Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce in promoting Harrison to the outside world. We already have heard from numerous chain businesses that would like to locate here, such as TJ Maxx, Harbor Freight, and many more. With these exciting opportunities also comes the mindful decisions of location and maintaining a healthy balance of local and chain options.
The new Rapp’s Barren restaurant is a great example of those types of decisions; we expect that with their great food and atmosphere, there will be an uptick in our downtown, also giving current businesses an increase in foot traffic.
With all these exciting new projects, a main priority for the City of Harrison is ultimately the safety and well-being of its citizens. There are several items regarding this that we are striving for.
There are state highway projects in place that will allow traffic to move through Harrison in a more timely manner, promoting others to stop and visit while also creating easier, safer drives for our citizens.
We aim to do all of this and more to make Harrison a place where people want to live, work, and play.