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Businesses aim to attract more people out onto the Arkansas River

Since the current is low downtown, it's the perfect time for easy-to-do activities like kayaking, or even swimming.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas River is at the palm of thousands of people's hands, but many are still afraid to go out on it.

"I think growing up in years past, there's a lot of people that were afraid of the river," John Owens said.

John Owens is the CEO of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. He moved to Rockwater Village along the riverfront three years ago.

"A lot of people don't even know this marina is even here!" Owens said.

He said it's time people start seeing the river as a fun place to go.

"I know my grandchildren like to get out here and tube and swim. There's really nothing to be afraid of. This time of year, there's hardly any current at all," Owens said.

And because of that low current downtown, it makes it easy-to-do activities like kayaking or even swimming. Gabe Holmstrom with the Downtown Little Rock Partnership said businesses in Little Rock and North Little Rock want to really start promoting the Arkansas River as a tourist attraction.

"In essence, this is a lake. We have a dam at the other end and another dam below the city," Holmstrom said.

Thursday, those businesses came together at the Rock Water marina to show off that it's a safe and fun place to be.

"Once you get someone out here for the first time, they see the beauty that is the river," Holmstrom said.

Owens said the flooding back in May did have an affect on the river.

"There was a period of 90 days where the water was too high to go out on," Owens said.

But he said everything is back to normal, and it is time to have fun again.

"So really, in the next few years, I think the future is really bright to have a lot of river activity and people enjoying the asset we have here that we're not really using," Holmstrom said.

Holmstrom said if you do plan to use the river, it is important to always wear a life vest and to know the depth of the water before getting in.

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