Little Rock Making Changes In Park Development Space

The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership was established by Congress through H. R. 1334 the purpose of which was to:

“To provide grants for projects to acquire land and water for parks and other outdoor recreation purposes and to develop new or renovate existing outdoor recreation facilities.”

Little Rock Arkansas, and more specifically, Little Rock Parks and Recreation, is one of eighteen other counties (park’s departments) to receive a grant from the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership, which is managed by the National Park Service

Little Rock Parks and Recreation has been awarded $750,000 in grant funding from this Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program in order to “enhance public outdoor recreation” in the Western Hill Legacy Park. This park serves an economically disadvantaged community in a neighborhood in southwestern Little Rock. 

This grant is part of a larger awarded distributed to eighteen different cities to the total amount of $11.9 million meant to benefit underserved and economically disadvantaged communities. 

Here’s what John Eckart, Director of Little Rock Parks & Recreation had to say about LRPR receiving this grant: “We are very excited about this award, The plans that we have for this grant will allow us to increase and improve the opportunities within Western Hills Park, but also continue the process of improving our trails system, with the goal of connecting all parts of Little Rock through our greenway trail systems.”

The specific enhancements for the Western Hills Park are as follows:

  • Constructing a custom natural playground
  • Erecting fishing piers 
  • Setting up picnic pavillions 
  • Building restroom facilities 
  • Constructing and setting up a paved and soft-surface trail system

All of these enhancements and developments will be ADA compliant which will allow for more individuals and families to enjoy them without concern over safety or accessibility. 

Arkansas is unique in that it actually had two cities receiving these ORLP funds, as only one other state, Wisconsin was awarded two grants to their state. Fort Smith, Arkansas also received funds out of this program to purchase land and create a new trail. In total, sixteen states received these enhancement grants. 

In a press release put out by the City of Little Rock,  National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela said this about awarding the funds to these eighteen cities individual park’s departments: “The benefits derived from connections to our public lands and parks are endless, These grants will expand important recreational opportunities in neighborhood parks and public lands for Americans in underserved areas.”