Fort Smith voters approved a quarter cent sales tax in March. City directors and the parks commission hashed out plans for the money Thursday night.
Fort Smith city directors and the parks commission debated for hours whether to first build softball fields at Ben Geren Park or a sports complex at Chaffee Crossing. “I just wanted to make sure both were fully funded and done in a correct mode,” said City Director Pam Weber.
Directors decided to build the softball fields at Ben Geren Park first. Construction will begin in early 2013. “I think the expansion of Ben Geren Park is something the public wants. We made a commitment,” said City Director Kevin Settle.
At one point Mayor Sandy Sanders told the group he would veto the decision if directors chose to build the complex at Chaffee Crossing first. “I just wanted to let the board know how strongly I felt about that,” said Mayor Sanders.
Construction at the new tournament complex at Chaffee Crossing will begin in late 2013. The sales tax is expected to bring in approximately $2.4 million a year.
Directors decided to accelerate construction on a soccer project along the river front. That will begin in 2014.