June 22, 2011 Edition
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Charles Snapp (center) outlines planned changes to two buildings he and his wife, Jackie, have purchased and donated to the Downtown Walnut Ridge organization. Brett Cooper, a member of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee, said the two buildings will be renovated into a pocket park to display The Beatles sculpture being planned as one of two attractions in the downtown area.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt
Snapps donate building for pocket
park to house Beatles sculpture
When you believe in something you do whatever it takes to make it happen - just ask Charles and Jackie Snapp.
For them it meant purchasing a row of seven storefronts, two of which they immediately donated to the Downtown Walnut Ridge organization.
"We believe in this," Jackie said, of plans to develop tourist attractions along what has been dubbed Rock 'n' Roll Highway 67.
"Jackie and I believe so much in what the Tourism Committee is doing that in order to get the ideal location for this tribute, we bought the property and donated the buildings to Downtown Walnut Ridge," Charles said. "I guess it is called putting your money where your mouth is."
The Snapps purchased two storefronts that face Main Street (formerly The Grill), as well as the five storefronts that run down Southwest Second.
The back two storefronts will be renovated by the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee to be the site for The Beatles sculpture.
"We are leaving the whole perimeter to save the historical integrity of the building," Charles said. "The front, as well as the side facing Adrianna's, will be lowered to create a pocket park."
The 10-foot-tall, 20-foot-wide sculpture will fill a large portion of the park. The brick that forms the support for the display windows will become benches to provide seating for those visiting the park.
The remainder of the space will remain open, providing an opportunity for tour groups to gather or concerts to be staged.
The windows that remain on the backside of the building will be replaced with metal silhouette panels to add to the ambiance while also allowing air to circulate through the park.
The Snapps also plan to renovate the remainder of the storefronts, in hopes of bringing in additional businesses to both draw more visitors and increase the community's sales tax revenue and add a few jobs.
Whiteway Barber Shop, already located in one of the storefronts, will remain, and four additional storefronts will be available in what the Snapps have planned as "The Grill District."
In addition to renovating the buildings to keep as much of the historical integrity as possible, the Snapps have plans to create a historic gallery of sorts along the sidewalk on Southwest Second.
"The pictures, postcards and newspaper articles attached to the exterior walls of The Grill District will be like tidbits of historical candy about downtown Walnut Ridge, leading interested visitors from The Beatles tribute to Main Street," Jackie said.
Among the first plans of action is refurbishing the neon sign that still hangs above The Grill's former location.
Lorra Whitmire, an advocate of reinvigorating the downtown Walnut Ridge area, shared her excitement about the Snapps' plans.
"I personally feel that this is what I have been waiting to see happen É people who have a love for their community getting involved, working together for a project that has generated excitement in all ages. This is our chance to make our downtown beautiful again and a place people want to visit, basically the downtown I remember as a child."
Charles said support from individuals, businesses and elected officials has been overwhelming.
"I can't remember in my lifetime when so many people were on the same page," Charles said.
He said financial support of all levels is adding up to make the projects possible, not to mention other support such as people just spreading the word about the plans.
"We have had a lot of donations at the $25 level, but we have had lots of other donations below that," Charles said. "Everyone's support is relevant even if it does not include money."
is biggest boost
Brett Cooper, a member of the Lawrence County Tourism Committee, credits the Snapps, who are also members of the committee, for continuing to push the projects forward.
"Many things have come together in a remarkable way for the Tourism Committee projects," he said. "We've had a great chemistry on our committee and a great vision to rally around.
"The community support has been incredible, but without question the greatest boost that we have had has been the involvement of Charles and Jackie Snapp. Their investment of energy and resources, and now their investment of this property in Walnut Ridge, has absolutely energized this effort."
Jackie said, in a sense, Charles has been looking for a project.
"When we retired from the hunting business, he kept saying he had one more big push in him," she said. "This is one É it might not be his last one, but it's definitely another one."
Marketing was always Charles' favorite part of running Davy Crockett Guide Service. He is enjoying using those skills now to help promote both The Beatles attraction and the Guitar Walk, planned
on Highway 67B near the Chamber office.
"I've always been able to see something and if it clicked and seemed like it fit, I went for it," he said. "These two tourist attractions, and the way its coming together, really clicks. It's the greatest opportunity for Lawrence County I've ever seen."
Charles said while he and Jackie believe themselves to be making a sound economic investment, he also is happy just to be able to make the donation.
"My family has been here since the early 1900s," he said. "Lawrence County, Walnut Ridge and Hoxie have been good to us. Fortunately we are in a place to able to make this contribution."
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