September 24, 2014 Edition

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Mayor House puts focus
on park in his final term

Haven Robinett (left) of Walnut Ridge and Ryker Taylor of Black Rock play on the slide at the Stewart Park playground, which has recently been cleaned and painted as part of an effort to revitalize the park.
TD Photo ~ Megan Heyl

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

Mayor Don House is spearheading multiple projects at Stewart Park. He said that the park has fallen into disrepair and he wants to use his time left in office to make it better for the community.

"My goal is to make the park a safer and more fun place for people to enjoy," he said.

Marked improvements have been made over the past months including work in the baseball park, basketball and volleyball courts, lake and playground.

The playground has been cleaned and repainted with the small adjacent pavilion receiving a complete remodel, including water, lighting and clean, safe picnic tables. The playground also received a fresh layer of mulch around all the equipment to provide a safe pad for children.

The ballpark has received a new dugout as well as new roofs for two other dugouts and painting, cleaning and other improvements have been and will continue to be made.

The lake's circulation system has received new sheltered plumbing, and a new fountain has been installed.

House said that this is just a few of the projects he has in the works and that he is going to get as much done as possible before winter sets in.

One of the larger projects in store is to reroof and stain the bridge over the lake. He is currently working with the Game and Fish Commission, which provided assistance in the initial building of the bridge, to make plans for the project.

He also said that final plans on a new splash pad and bathhouse are progressing and he hopes construction on those will begin soon.

Additional painting, cleaning and repairs are in progress on buildings, fencing, walking paths and benches, as well as clearing out tree limbs and overgrown areas.

Work is also planned for the soccer field, tennis court and roadways.

The large pavilion's interior will be repainted and the picnic tables there will be refinished. The fireplace will also be cleaned. "We want it to be a real nice place where people can have events," House said.

All the repairs at the park are to make the park safer and more ADA accessible, according to House.

House said the size of the park and the variety of activities offered at the park are a blessing to the community. "Walnut Ridge owes a great deal to its park," he said. It was one of the factors in getting declared a Tree City USA, which can entice future businesses looking for a green community.

"It's an oasis in the Delta and we have to preserve it," he concluded.

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