Air force base may become tourism hotspot

Barrett Harrison (Source: KAIT-TV)
Barrett Harrison (Source: KAIT-TV)

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Several years ago, the Blytheville Air Force Base was under 24/7 security surveillance, with few people allowed inside restricted areas.

After a recent study, those same areas may be open to the public in just a few years.

President of the Blytheville-Gosnell Regional Airport Authority Barrett Harrison said this is something they've been thinking about for years, turning the base into a museum.

A feasibility study was conducted to see if there would be enough interest in alert facilities such as the one in Blytheville.

Harrison said the results of that study were very positive, estimating on the low end that it would draw 50,000 tourists between the second and third year.

That would create an economic impact of $7 million in Mississippi County.

"Just having that number of people and that dollar amount of economic impact, I can only imagine what it might be after it's been open a few years," Harrison said.

Harrison said this will be a very large project and is still years in the making.

A committee has been created to address each part of what the museum would require.

Harrison said he is confident they can get it done and that the study shows a lot of people would come to Mississippi County to see it.

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