Comeback for Little Rock's Little Rock

The rock after which Little Rock, AR is named will be excavated to cap off the revitalization of the city's riverfront. No one knows how much of the rock, estimated to be 300 million years old, is left, which raises the question: Is it worth it?
January 29, 2009, 6am PST | Judy Chang
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"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."

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Published on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 in The Wall Street Journal
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