"Strolling with her grandchildren past the churning drills at work on the project last week, Sharon Pojar dismissed the effort with a disdainful wave. 'It seems kind of dumb,' she said. 'Plaques and memorials? We've got enough of those already.'"
"More than half the cost, $350,000, is being covered by private foundations. The city will refinance park bonds to kick in $100,000. The county government will add $200,000.
The price has raised some eyebrows, especially in this time of financial turmoil, when other parks projects -- including a new penguin exhibit at the zoo -- have been put on hold. "Not to put too fine a point on it, but, ahem, that's a rock, people," the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette wrote in an editorial last month.
Even some locals who support the concept say the rock is unlikely to prove as big a draw as other nearby attractions such as the playground, where shrieking kids race through tunnels and slide down grassy slopes on cardboard sleds. "How often am I going to come and look at it?" asks Sylvia Duran, a 34-year-old registered nurse.
But tourism officials have high hopes."