Proposed Plans For Riverfront Park Development Unveiled

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) --The city has another park along the riverfront in its future, and plans for it were revealed Tuesday (Jan. 19).

Besides soccer fields and a multi-use trail, the plans for this new park on the riverfront also include a Miracle League Field for special needs baseball and a playground that all children will be able to use.

“My daughter`s in a wheelchair,” Dave Roberts said. “She has cerebral palsy, so sometimes when I`m designing these playgrounds, I feel like I`m designing it for her, but it`s because we`re going the extra non-barrier approach that it`s great for everybody.”

Roberts, who is with the engineering and architecture firm Crafton Tull, revealed those details at the Parks and Commission meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 19).

“The first phase all along has been slated to be soccer fields,” Roberts said. “There`s going to be a couple soccer fields and a parking lot for that and then multiple phases after.”

The 51 acres of land on which the park will be built is about two miles north of Harry E. Kelley Park.

“It could take quite a few years to build out,” Roberts said.

The city has $750,000 set aside for phase one of the project, and $1.5 million total budgeted to develop the park over the next three years. Director of Parks and Recreation Doug Reinart said he hopes to match that amount with grants and donations.

“If we do it in phases, hopefully we can get some grant money, that`ll make it move forward a lot quicker,” Reinart said.

A $26 million community center with an indoor pool and running tracks is also included in the proposed plans.

“We`ve got this far on the design phases, and I think we can achieve that and that`s what the citizens want,” Reinart said.

The next step is getting a price tag for the project, which should happen within the next week or so.

The engineers and architects on the project said they also took flooding into consideration, and many of the park’s elements will be built in a way that keeps them out of flood zones.