Friends of Recreational Trails fundraising total up to $1.1 million

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 54 views 

Private sector and grant donations to an effort to build more trails and greenways in Fort Smith has raised more than $1.1 million thanks to recent donations from BHC Insurance, Propak Logistics and Sparks Health System.

Friends of Recreational Trails (FORT) first announced Nov. 17 that the group had raised $695,000 toward a $3 million goal.

The latest contributions from Sparks Health System, Propak Logistics, and BHC Insurance raise the effort’s total in excess of $1.1 million. To date, businesses have contributed $870,000 of that total. Non-corporate funds raised by Park Partners has included a State of Arkansas GIF grant of $40,884, 2015 Fort Smith Marathon proceeds of $40,000, and a grant from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas of $150,000. In addition, organizers of the second annual Fort Smith Marathon have announced their intention to again donate the proceeds from the February event to the trails endeavor.

“The coalition of business and community leaders targeted towards private financial support for the trails and greenways effort in Fort Smith is gaining momentum,” said Bill Hanna, FORT Committee member.

Previous corporate contributors included Littlefield Oil, Hanna Oil & Gas, Arvest Bank, Mercy Health, Walther Arms, and Weldon, Williams & Lick, and a $3 million interest-free loan from First National Bank of Fort Smith.

Also announced was the launch of the FORT website where community residents can gather information and updates on current trail projects make a donation toward the campaign via a crowd-funding tool.

Working with the Parks Commission, Trails & Greenways Committee, Park Partners, and the City of Fort Smith, the FORT Committee will help guide the trail construction, continue to garner support from residents and the corporate community and help educate about the trails and greenways effort.