BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The Poke Bayou is a well kept secret in the city of Batesville, even though it runs right through town! Now, the city is doing a feasibility study in hopes of sparking tourism.
Batesville Chamber of Commerce is working with the Arkansas State University Economic Development Team, along with water specialist to conduct the study on the Poke Bayou. A study that could mean big things for the city.
"Batesville has always been known for it's history," says Bob Pest, a Community Development Consultant involved in the study. "We're probably the last town of this size in the county, that has a river running through it, that hasn't developed a Riverfront the way most communities have," he says.
The city could be provided with a 50/50 matching grant for up to 15,000 dollars through the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism if the study shows the area can be developed.
"We'd have water based recreation like rafts or tubes going along a stretch of the Bayou, we'd also develop along the Bayou a system of trails," says Pest.
The Bayou would also provide educational benefits. "There's research that could be done both historical research and nature research," he says.
The Bayou runs right through town and feeds into the White River at the end of Main St. It's an area the city has been working to revitalize over the past couple of years.
"The Bayou can really help Main St. to grow, and it also puts an attraction down there so that feeds into the new restaurants, hotels that sort of thing," says Pest. He also says it's a study that could help Batesville to move forward. "There's a renaissance taking place in Batesville. There's a real dynamic involving several different pieces now and the Bayou is just sort of the magic bullet."
The city plans on submitting the feasibility study by the end of November. The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism will then determine whether the project will move forward.