Harrison leaders react to Dogpatch purchase by Bass Pro’s Johnny Morris

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 4:08 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Thinking back to what the Dogpatch USA theme park used to be hits Harrison city leaders with a wave of nostalgia.

“It was the heartbeat of Harrison, and we would have weeks where we would have Dogpatch Days. Everybody in the whole town would dress up as Dogpatch characters,” said Mayor Jerry Jackson.

Parents took their kids to the theme park, which was open in late 1960s, and then closed in 1993.

”Traffic backed up right at the Boone-Newton County line,” said Bob Largent, the president of the Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Many people have owned the park’s property over the years, but it was never developed.

Until now.

“We’re glad to see Johnny Morris in his conservation hat take on this gorgeous spot in the Ozark,” Largent said.

The founder of Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris, is taking the project into his own hands after purchasing the land in June.

Morris said in a statement the property will be ”an ode to the heritage of the Ozarks.”

“The creeks, the streams, the rivers, the hills: It’s just a perfect match for Bass Pro Shops and Johnny Morris,” Jackson said.

Harrison city leaders say when they heard the news, they were ecstatic.

Many people driving from northern states to Dogpatch have to pass through Harrison, meaning an economic boost for the town.

”Across the spectrum from small business, to tourism, to lodging, to restaurants, to perhaps even large businesses,” Largent said.

No date has been set yet as to when the park will open back up to the public, but Harrison leaders say the wait is worth it.

”So delighted because this is going to positively affect everyone in our region in one way or another,” Jackson said.

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