February 02, 2011 Edition

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Rock 'n' Roll projects progressing



Tourism Committee member Charles Snapp shows an illustration of the planned guitar plaza, the second phase of a two-part Rock 'n' Roll Highway attraction planned in the county. He gave project updates at a Kiwanis Club meeting on Thursday.
TD Photo ~ John Bland
Progress and fund-raising is moving rapidly toward the creation of two monuments to honor Lawrence County's heritage as part of the Rock 'n' Roll Highway 67, which runs from Newport north to Pocahontas.

Charles Snapp, a member of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee, updated the Walnut Ridge Kiwanis Club on the projects. He was guest speaker at a Thursday club meeting.

A metal sculpture of The Beatles "Abbey Road" album cover has been fully funded and is now being built by Iron Metal Works and West Machine Shop. The original cost estimates for this project were from $8,500 up; however, much of the cost and labor for the project have been donated. The life-size replica will commemorate the Beatles' September 1964 visit to Walnut Ridge Airport's Swindle Field.

A $45,000 project to construct a Guitar Plaza is now 25 percent funded, Snapp said. The Guitar Plaza will be located along Highway 67 in downtown Walnut Ridge.

This project will focus on the rock and roll stars, such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Fats Domino, who played at clubs along Highway 67 in the 1950s. The plaza will be 100 feet by 40 feet.

Snapp noted that a quarter of the funds have been raised for phase two of the project in only two months.

"I'm very pleased with the donations we've received thus far," Snapp told The TD. "Those donations have come from Walnut Ridge, Lawrence County, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Memphis and Austin."

"While our efforts are moving forward at a favorable pace, we have a limited area to draw financial support from, thus we need local business, individuals and alumni to step up to the plate and support the efforts," he added.

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