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Close off Clinton Avenue in the River Market on weekend nights and create a health care program for Little Rock artists and musicians

By Grayson Shelton

Closing President Clinton Avenue from LaHarpe to the I-30 bridge on Friday and Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. would make the area safer and more friendly to crowds. It would keep people who cruise the River Market away and allow police to set up checkpoints, which would allow them to spot underage drinkers and otherwise monitor the crowds.

The blueprint for a healthcare program for local artists is Austin's HAAM, which helps professional musicians with basic health and dental care and mental health counseling. A program like this could inspire a new wave of creativity in Little Rock and, ultimately, benefit the economy.

Grayson Shelton is a Little Rock musician, who plays in the band War Chief.

Reconnect the Old State House to the Riverfront

By Mason Ellis

The Old State House was built in the mid 1800s atop a prominent hill along the Arkansas riverbank. It was the one of the most impressive buildings in the state when it was built and a focal point along the old riverfront. Today, it is still a prominent landmark along Markham Street, but with the construction of La Harpe Boulevard, the Old State House was cut off from the riverfront it once proudly overlooked. East of La Harpe, the Riverfront Park and downtown meld into one bustling environment, but to the west, downtown and the river are divided by a concrete barrier where once the land sloped down to the river from behind the Old State House.

We should reconstruct this connection and build a tunnel over La Harpe behind the Old State House to create a large green lawn between Ashley and Conway streets. The greenway would link downtown to the west end of Riverfront Park and encourage more people to use it. The caged pedestrian bridge that crosses La Harpe behind the Old State House now is often overlooked or avoided because it is small, hidden and unsightly. And though it makes it possible to cross over La Harpe, it does not invite visitors to do so. Access to the west end of Riverfront Park could spark a renewed interest in that area, similar to the revitalization of the east end of the park that we have seen in recent years.

Mason Ellis is an intern architect at Witsell Evans Rasco Architects and Planners.

Embrace naturism

By John Bryant

Arkansas is called the "Natural" state, but yet "Naturism," or social nudism, is expressly prohibited by a legislative act passed in 1947 after a crusading preacher passed through the state and convinced lawmakers to pass this obviously unconstitutional legislation.

Other locales, North Miami Beach (Haulover) for instance, have embraced the desire for residents and tourists to enjoy their beach sans clothing and in doing so have realized millions of visitors from around the world who come and spend millions of dollars each year. Arkansas has literally hundreds of natural scenic areas that lend themselves to nude recreation. Not to mention private development of facilities accommodating nudists that is now being prevented by this archaic legislation. Although not a coastal state, Arkansas has much more to attract such development than other inland areas that have capitalized on nude recreation like Pasco County, Fla., which is home to more than a dozen nudist resorts and residential communities. Also, Palm Springs, Calif., boasts several upscale nudist resorts and spas. And they are in the middle of a desert! Let's get with it Arkansas, and become truly the "Natural State".

John Bryant is retired from a TV broadcast career. He lives in Elkins.

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