VAN BUREN (KFSM) -- A project a year in the making and costing over a $1 million is set to open to the public on Friday (June 30) ahead of Independence Day.
City leaders, the community and veterans will come together to dedicate Freedom Park in Van Buren. The new park was designed specifically for residents to enjoy and to honor the sacrifices made by the veterans of all U.S. Armed Forces.
The park is right in the heart of downtown Van Buren across from the train depot on Main Street.
Crews built two pavilions to be used for local farmers markets and other activities. The park also consists of a wide open lawn space with a stage, splash pad, benches and picnic tables.
Freedom Park was part of the city's Master Parks Plan, which is focused on the quality of life for Van Buren residents. "This was the number one park in that plan and to see that come to life and people walking out there is really gratifying," said Joseph Hurst, Planning Director.
"This is all part of the plan to invest in a park and make it a gathering space. Hopefully this will help restore and pump new life in downtown, and so far that's what we're seeing," said Hurst.
The ribbon cutting ceremony will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Freedom Park, rain or shine. If it's raining, organizers said it will be held under the pavilion.
Anyone is welcome to go and celebrate this accomplishment. There will be a presentation from many city leaders. Also, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1322 will be attending.
The new chief of police for Van Buren will also be sworn in during the ceremony. Jammie Hammond will be replacing the current police chief, Kenneth Bell, who will be retiring after 32 years of service.
While Freedom Park will be used as an entertainment venue, starting in the fall crews will begin construction on Veterans Memorial Plaza located next to Freedom Park. This will be a place to reflect on the past, present and future veterans of our country.