At no cost to taxpayers, a new city-sponsored website called Texarkana Central showcases the best the Arkansas side has to offer.
The site, at texarkanacentral.ver.st, features photos and descriptions of various places of interest, tourist destinations and activities throughout the city, along with interactive maps and media elements such as vintage audio recordings.
An Arkansas Historic Preservation Program grant funded the building of the site, and money from the city Advertising and Promotion Commission is paying to publish it.
A "Spy Glass Map" on the site lets users move a virtual viewfinder over a recent satellite photo of the city to reveal a 1924 map, making the past century's changes easy to see. Another map pinpoints interesting spots, restaurants and hotels in relation to the viewer's location, and it helps visitors identify the trees they may see near Nix Creek.
The Municipal Auditorium page features a link to audio of an August 1955 interview with singer Elvis Presley, in which he discusses a coming performance alongside Johnny Cash at the auditorium.
Other highlights include pages for outdoor activities such as golf, hunting and fishing, as well as a group of pages on the downtown Arts and Historic District.
City Planner Mary Beck, who wrote the application for the AHPP grant, showed off the site to the city Board of Directors at its meeting Monday.
"We hope it will be a tool for you to use and share," she said.
Web designer John Vutech recently completed developing the site, which is built to be compatible with various devices and stay flexible as more content is added.
"What I do love about the platform is it's free-breathing. You can redesign its looks very fluidly, very fast. And what I also like is it's so responsive on any tool you're using, from your phone to your tablet to your laptop to your 4K TV. It responds," he said.
The site does not have a lot of "bells and whistles," Vutech said. "It's very minimalistic, but in a way that's what gives it its beauty."
Future plans for the site include maps featuring local cemeteries and sites related to Texarkana's Phantom Killer murders, along with an events calendar feature and the ability to make reservations at city parks, hotels and restaurants.
"The hope is to make the site conversational" and increasingly interactive, Vutech said.
Visitors can also find Texarkana Central by clicking on the "Events" tab on the Texarkana, Ark., website, arkansas.txkusa.org.
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