July 29, 2015 Edition

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Walnut Ridge Alderman Wendell Jones (from left), County Judge Dale Freeman, local farmer Ty Callahan and Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp discuss plans for the sports complex at Stewart Park as work is underway in the background to remove concrete from the old batting cages.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Work continues at
Stewart Park ball fields

Gretchen Hunt

An effort to create an improved sports complex at Stewart Park continues to gain momentum thanks to a joint effort by the city of Walnut Ridge, Lawrence County and numerous volunteers.

Tuesday morning, the county provided a track hoe, loader and dump trucks to help bust up and haul off concrete from the old batting cages.

"This will help us move forward with the development of this complex... what will eventually be more fields for baseball, softball and soccer," Mayor Charles Snapp said.

A section of Northwest Second Street, from Park Lane to Compulast Drive, has also been removed. The Walnut Ridge City Council voted to close that section at its last meeting to allow for improvements to the ball fields.

Callahan Farms and Hicks Farms volunteered to do the excavation work, and Brady Farms will be doing some finish work later this week. Snapp said the road bed will be recycled as base for the parking lot.

Volunteers have also done dirt work on some of the fields to build them up and make them more usable. Work being done this week should also improve drainage.

The softball field, which stayed under water much of this spring, will be relocated as part of the project.

"This is a classic example of how the county and cities should work together," Snapp said. "It benefits the entire county."

He went on to explain that having activities for kids to do will in turn help local businesses.

"Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins all go see the kids play," he said. "When they do, and they are out moving, they will buy more sodas, milk shakes and sandwiches and utilize the restaurants in town."

He said a shop at home movement is needed to increase support for the city and avoid any tax increases.

"That move can start right there with that park," he said.

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