It’s a fact that attracting and retaining conventions and events in the Fort Smith, Arkansas region relies heavily on the efforts of both the community and the growing tourism and hospitality industry. Typically, our Hometown Hospitality Heroes are those who have helped achieve this goal in a very specific way by either helping to secure new conventions or attracting/creating new events. However, there are people and organizations within the Fort Smith community that play a very important role in area tourism — especially when it comes to how visitors perceive our city — that also deserve recognition.
With that said, the Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau are pleased to name Nancy Smreker as our newest Hometown Hospitality Hero. Nearly four years ago, Smreker became interested in the beautification of Fort Smith after noticing some areas that needed a little tender love and care. Not wanting to take a passive interest, she began working with, “Fort Smith Pride.” Soon thereafter, the organization became known as Beautify Fort Smith under her leadership. With Smreker as their new leader, the organization quickly began attacking multiple projects, giving Fort Smith an inviting new look.
Most recently, Beautify Fort Smith completed a $110,000 landscaping project at the I-540 and Rogers Avenue interchange. Relying on donations of large sums of money can often slow projects down, but the organization drew major support from First National Bank President, Sam Sicard. “It only took us a few months to raise the money thank to Sam Sicard,” Smreker said. “He was instrumental in raising the money in such a short time. Not only did First National Bank donate $30,000, but Mr. Sicard also helped us establish relationships with our other donors who shared our vision.” Now, the site has been completely rejuvenated with bright flowers, trees and shrubs. As one of the main entries to Fort Smith, it has a very positive impact on making a good first impression with visitors.
A goal-oriented organization, Smreker says that Beautify Fort Smith will strive to have projects planned throughout the year and continue to make Fort Smith even more attractive than it already has.They don’t just plant flowers, either. “Our next big project will be the Grand Avenue Interchange,” Smreker said. “We will be landscaping, boring the ground and installing irrigation.” Smreker expects the project cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $80,000. Another pending project will be to plant trees at Midland Boulevard. That project will involve removing the concrete slab before planting any trees and installing a new Welcome to Fort Smith sign.
Thanks to people like Nancy Smreker, the Beautify Fort Smith organization, and the support of our community and local businesses like First National Bank, Fort Smith remains a beautiful and inviting destination. It’s safe to say that Nancy and Beautify Fort Smith are true Hometown Hospitality Heroes with GRIT!
You can stay up-to-date on the organizations activity by following their Facebook page, which is where they’ll post news about their plans, photos of their projects, information on volunteering, and when their next meetings will be held. If you’d like to support the organization’s efforts by making a donation, you can do so by mailing a check addressed to Beautify Fort Smith | PO Box 934 | Fort Smith, AR. 72902.