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Hope Tourism Commission contracts with CJRW for promotions work, hears report on Watermelon Festival, Pocket Park

Lisa Garrett, of Little Rock’s CJRW Advertising presents options to the Hope Advertising and Tourist Promotion Board at a July 12 meeting. Yesterday, the board voted to contract with CJRW for promotional services in 2022-23.

At the August regular meeting of the Hope Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission, moved a week back because of the Watermelon Festival, members voted late Tuesday afternoon to contract with CJRW Advertising for a package of services promoting the area, reviewed budget numbers and heard a report from the Fair Park superintendent on the progress of the Pocket Park and on the success of the Watermelon Festival.

As usual, Hope Parks Superintendent Summer Powell presented paperwork to the commission members on receipts and payments made during the previous month. July of 2022’s total income was $74,338.88, which was $10,740.09 more than the income in July of 2021. Also provided was a rundown of the commission’s checking account activity from August 12 through August 15, which showed spending of about $45,400 mainly on supplies and labor for the Watermelon Festival.

In addition, the board members saw itemized lists of taxes collected from area businesses that depend on tourism. The total received for July in taxes was $70,616.94.

Commission member and City Director Trevor Coffee asked for clarification on various expenses incurred during the Watermelon Festival but finally voted with the other members to accept the report.

The commission then discussed an advertisement contract for the new fiscal year. At last month’s meeting, Lisa Garrett from the Little Rock firm CJRW, presented several options. The board voted to approve a package containing inclusion in an e-newsletter, the Arkansas Travel Guide, the Arkansas Adventure Guide, the Arkansas Motorcycle Guide, banners on the Arkansas Tourism website and, new this year, advertising videos.

Since half the cost of the $31,784.50 package has been agreed to be covered by Arkansas Great Southwest, an association of towns and counties in southwest Arkansas, the commission’s expense was $15,892, which it voted unanimously to approve.

Powell then updated the commission on work at the Pocket Park which is under construction on East Second Street. As of now, concrete has been poured and the pergola and benches will be placed there in October, as will the landscaping.

About the Watermelon Festival, Powell said 65 teams had registered in the Softball Tournament, including more women’s teams than in previous years, 19 in the Cornhole Tournament and five in the Watermelon Olympics.

A discussion arose about the lack of watermelons available in stands and in stores in the city. Coffee said one of the Bramlett family had reported to him that as of now a crop is about to be harvested.

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