Lewis Soccer Complex Set To Close In June

 FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- A popular park in Northwest Arkansas may no longer exist after the city's lease for the property is coming to an end.

Lewis Park is more than 27 acres and has been home to many soccer games since the 90s, but in just a little more than a month it will close and a group living in the area is hoping to save it.

It’s owned by the University of Arkansas Department of Agriculture and has been on lease to the City of Fayetteville, but that 25-year lease ends at the end of June.

“The nearest parks to here are Wilson park over there a mile and a half or Bryce Davis a mile and a half that way and across the interstate, it makes them not walkable,” Will Dockery said.

Dockery has started the group #SaveLewis.

“We are hoping to work out something between the city and the Agriculture division to somehow keep this open as a public park for everyone to use,” he said.

He said while the city has a lot of soccer fields, they still don't have enough.

"We need Kessler, we need Lewis. We are supposed to have 20 playing fields. Right now we have 14, so once Lewis is gone we'll lose six of those,” he said.

Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Director, Connie Edmonston said the city has known for the past decade the lease would not be renewed and that's why the city built new soccer fields at Mount Kessler Regional Park before Lewis was set to close.

“People become accustomed to a park once they've made memorable experiences there. You know, a lot of people learned to play soccer there. A lot of people have taken their kids there and made some of their best friends there,” she said.

 The group is holding a public input meeting Thursday (April 19) at the Fayetteville Public Library.

The city said anyone is welcome to use the play area just across the street at Asbell Elementary School, but only after school hours and on weekends.