LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As the sun beats down on two closed city golf courses, more than a dozen people inside a room down the road discuss what could be next for the city’s now empty green spaces.
Last month, the City of Little Rock received more than 11,000 ideas for War Memorial and Hindman golf courses, both which closed earlier this year because of funding issues.
“Walking trails, dog parks, biking trails, hiking trails, soccer fields — they all ranked very highly,” says Little Rock Parks and Recreation Director John Eckart.
The Task Force of more than a dozen people, created by Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr consits of a pastor, doctor, architect, a neighborhood association president and a War Memorial Stadium Commissioner.
“We strive to be inclusive and that only happens when we’re intentional,” says Little Rock Mayor’s Chief-of-Staff Charles Blake.
The state’s Director of tourism and former Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey is also on the Task Force.
“This is an important committee,” says Dailey.
The group has asked the City for a presentation on what’s currently available at other city parks and a structural base for War Memorial and Hindman, something vital because Hindman often floods.
Dailey says the possibilities for both are endless. He adds War Memorial’s location makes it prime for something big.
“I see this as an opportunity for us to do something here that truly makes this the Central Park of Little Rock, maybe the Central Park of Arkansas,” says Dailey.
On Dailey’s wish list, a trail connecting War Memorial, Hindman and even Hot Springs together.
“If you don’t have some ideas that are grand and big then you’ll never get there,” says Dailey.
The group will meet every other Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at The Centre at University Park.
In two weeks, members will present inital ideas and have a brainstorming session.
The Task Force has until the end of the year to create a report, which includes a funding source, to present to the Little Rock City Directors and Mayor.