Riverfront Drive Skate and Bike Park pushed to September opening

by Aric Mitchell (amitchell@talkbusiness.net) 478 views 

The Riverfront Drive Skate and Bike Park slated to open by Memorial Day may have missed its deadline, but Fort Smith Parks and Recreation Director Doug Reinert told the city’s Board of Directors at a meeting on Thursday (June 21) the park is on track for a September opening.

The project, Reinert said, “is going well,” and there haven’t been any “major issues” holding it back. “At the very beginning, they actually ended up dealing with a sinkhole. They had to dig out some concrete and redo that, and they’ve run into some minor things like that — debris from a tornado. So they’re digging some of that stuff out, but right now, everything is going smoothly.”

In February, the city approved a $600,000 contract to be paid through private funds with American Ramp Company for construction of the park and its contents. The park is part of a public-private partnership with various private interests that include but aren’t limited to Steve Clark of Propak Logistics, Sam Sicard of First National Bank of Fort Smith, and Bill Hanna of Hanna Oil & Gas. An undisclosed portion of the contract amount comes from the Walton Family Foundation as well. Sicard — through FNB — was the initial contributor and the only one to disclose the amount ($100,000, made public on Oct. 13, 2017).

Also in February, the city approved a contract for its share of the park with Silco Construction in the amount of $466,511. That money went toward construction of the parking area and amenities improvements, and they were paid out of the voter-approved 1/8-cent sales and use tax. American Ramp’s design is based on their work at K-Town Plaza in Kanab, Utah. and it will feature a small track for strider bikes and children still on training wheels. There will be intermediate and advanced tracks for teens and experienced riders as well.

“This will be a true park, where there is not just one thing to do but multiple things, to hopefully maximize usage and appeal,” said First National Bank of Fort Smith President and CEO Sam Sicard in a previous interview with Talk Business & Politics.

Sicard said he was not aware of a combination bike and skate park like this one in the region.

“There are some separate trails in Northwest Arkansas, but nothing that combines the two. It will also tie in with the Greg Smith Riverfront Trail so you can connect to that if you want. There are just a lot of different opportunities there for tourists and locals to come downtown, stay downtown, eat downtown, and go to the Marshals Museum (when it opens on Sept. 24, 2019).”

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