(Editor's Note: Each year, Arkansas Business partners with the Arkansas Municipal League to present the Trendsetter City awards, which recognize exceptional initiatives underway in municipalities across the state. Large, medium and small-sized cities were honored in six categories: Diversity and Inclusion; Education/Workforce Development; Infrastructure and Water; Public Works/Environmental and Green Management; Technology and Security; and Tourism Development/Creative Culture. Below is one winner's story. For more, click here.)
Tourism Development/Creative Culture
Winner • 5,000-20,000
Mayor: Jerry Jackson
Meandering the Murals
The Natural State, Natural Art Mural Tour has so far, with help of local and some nationally recognized artists, produced 18 murals and had two more in progress. Harrison launched an app to increase awareness of the project and help navigate mural locations through mapping software.
Harrison wanted to improve the quality of life for its citizens by developing a destination for visitors to the downtown through art that featured elements of nature, history and creativity. The city also wanted to beautify existing building walls downtown that had deteriorated and make them more attractive. Harrison wanted to provide attractions, facilities and activities not just for the local community but surrounding communities as well.
Harrison’s city complex is the site of high school district, regional and state baseball and softball tournaments as well as USSSA and FASA travel tournaments. In the past year more than 350 teams used the facilities, with 25 different states represented. Around 1,500 players participate in local leagues.
Partnering with the Rotary Club of Harrison, Harrison School District EAST, Explore Harrison, downtown business owners and local and national artists, Harrison installed an all-inclusive playground for children of all abilities, completed a splash pad, resurfaced tennis and basketball courts, remodeled the city pool, turfed baseball and softball infields and developed the Natural State, Natural Art Mural Tour to beautify downtown.