April 25, 2012 Edition

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Guitar Walk will be located
in Cavenaugh Park

Lawrence County Tourism Committee member Charles Snapp (from left) talks about the custom shovels used at Tuesday's groundbreaking for the Guitar Walk with Don and Fran Cavenaugh of Walnut Ridge. During the groundbreaking, Snapp announced that the area that will be home to the Guitar Walk has been named Cavenaugh Park in honor of the couple's support of the project including a $23,900 contribution through General Motors.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt
Gretchen Hunt

During Tuesday's groundbreaking for the Guitar Walk, to be located adjacent to the Iron Mountain Depot in downtown Walnut Ridge, a drawing of a sign designating the area as Cavenaugh Park was unveiled.

According to Charles Snapp, Lawrence County Chamber Tourism Committee member, Don Cavenaugh and his wife, Fran, who is also a member of the committee, have been instrumental in bringing this project to fruition.

On top of individual contributions and contributions from Cavenaugh Auto World, the Cavenaughs helped acquire $23,900 from General Motors to be used for development of the Guitar Walk.

"We just want to say we are proud to be a part of Walnut Ridge and Lawrence County," Fran said.

She encouraged others to rally around revitalization efforts saying that so many talk about bigger cities, but there is so much that smaller towns have to offer.

"There is no reason for a small community not to gather around and help revitalize," she said. "We are proud to be a part of it all."

Snapp said not only have the attractions surpassed the committee's expectations, the effects have been astonishing as well.

"What was a tourism effort became a revitalization effort and has actually become what could be called a movement," he said.

Snapp expressed the committee's pleasure to be breaking ground on the second phase of tourism efforts well ahead of schedule. Originally set to be complete in 2014 or 2015, the walk is now scheduled to be complete by this fall.

"It's 2012 and we have the money in the bank," he said. "We are going to build this."

The 100-foot-long, 40-foot-wide guitar will feature stations honoring different legends including Elvis Presley, Conway Twitty and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Not only has the funding come in quicker than expected, it has also allowed for the addition of an audio tour to be recorded by Sonny Burgess, who was among the legends who played along Highway 67.

"These attractions are set up to promote tourism and economic development in Lawrence County while preserving our musical heritage," Snapp said. "It's an amazing day for Lawrence County, for Walnut Ridge, and, for that matter, for all of Northeast Arkansas."

He stressed that individual donations, and not tax dollars, are funding the creation of these tourism attractions.

Snapp acknowledged many supporters, volunteers and elected officials who were in attendance or have supported the efforts. He also thanked former State Rep. J.R. Rogers for sponsoring the bill that renamed the stretch of highway as Rock "N" Roll Highway 67 and laid the groundwork for the creation of both Beatles Park and the Guitar Walk.

"John Lennon once said, 'If there hadn't been an Elvis there would not have been The Beatles,'" Snapp said. "Because of the history we have here and the efforts of many, Walnut Ridge is the only place in North America where Abbey Road meets the Rock 'N Roll Highway."

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