The City of White Hall is fighting erosion with a new construction project funded by the Arkansas Department of Transportation meant to revamp the appearance of the City Park’s sidewalks, walking trails and entrances before the end of this year.
In May, White Hall City Park entered the beginning phases of a new remodeling plan with the intent of reversing the effects erosion has had on the city’s popular meeting spot throughout the years.
The park is the heart of the community’s recreation and offers the public a paved walking trail, a number of pavilions, an amphitheater, a fully-equipped, fenced-in playground area, seven baseball and softball fields, two tennis courts, restrooms and a skateboard park.
White Hall City Park hosts various festivals and community events all year round, including the annual Community Christmas, where the park is lit up with Christmas lights following the ceremony.
With so many visitors stopping at the park to spend their free time, it wasn’t long until the effects erosion was having on some of the park’s main attractions made their way to the desk of the city’s mayor, Noel Foster.
After receiving a $400,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Transportation, Foster and the city teamed up with McClelland Consulting Engineers of Little Rock to get started on the project that is expected to be complete in September, according to Foster.
As agreed to in the contract between the two parties, all work being done on the park must be complete by October, although September is the preferred completion time stated by Foster.
“The park stays really busy since it’s used daily. So some of the park has erosion,” Foster said. “We are removing the asphalt on the sidewalks, entrances, and walking trails and replacing it with concrete.”
According to Foster, replacing all the asphalt on the park’s sidewalks, entrances, and walking trails with concrete will potentially address the erosion problem and give visitors an improved experience when utilizing its features.
“There aren’t many trees around the area so it is also a part of the plan to get grass growing,” he said.
During an initial evaluation of the park prior to the work being done, Foster and McClelland Consulting Engineers came to the conclusion that the lack of trees in the park had possibly contributed to the erosion around the area and plan to use the growth of new grass in these areas to address the problem.
“We’re pretty excited,” Foster said. “Hopefully the new walking trails improvements will benefit the people who use them.”
On a recent afternoon, Jenny Franklin and her two young sons, Ralph, 5, and Lee, 8, were enjoying a walk through a wooded area of the park. Franklin said she often goes there to reflect on life, and she said her boys enjoy nature.
“It’s nice to see them taking care of the park like this,” Franklin said. “This space means so much to this community. We really enjoy coming here.”