The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Board agreed to give 68 acres at Chaffee Crossing to the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education for trails to aid in the wellbeing of students and the community.
The board unanimously approved a request from ACHE at its regular meeting Thursday (Nov. 21) for a no-cost conveyance of approximately 68 acres adjacent to college property that is being developed into the campus’ Celebration Park. It also agreed to a no-cost conveyance to ACHE of a 12.2-acre section of Chad Colley Boulevard right-of-way. The property, known as a median, separates ACHE property. It is unsuitable for development because of utility easements running underneath the land.
“The property currently contains part of a trail designed for the benefit of the public, and it is ACHE’s intent to keep said trails intact,” noted a letter from Kyle Parker, CEO of ACHE to Daniel Mann, FCRA executive director.
If it is not possible to keep the trail intact on the median for safety reasons, the trails will be relocated to a safer area, Parker said. The median area will be landscaped and maintained by the college as a beautiful space, Parker said.
“Wellness is extremely important to our mission. Looking at pretty places makes you feel better. I think you can look at our campus and know that we are pretty good at landscaping.”
The other 68 acres is also unsuitable for development because of multiple very deep drainage ditches. Though the property is currently zoned for commercial use, it is only suitable for walking and biking trails, Parker said.
ACHE asked that the property be zoned for park/open space. The area has been used by many as dumping ground for appliance, Parker said, noting that several stoves, washers, dryers and other appliance trash has been tossed into the area.
“This area is not on our land, but it touches on it. It touches our Celebration Park, which is a privately funded public area,” Parker said.
Celebration Park will include a negative edge (reflecting) pool, large pavilion, children’s play area and adult exercise equipment as well as a walking trail.
Along with cleaning up the area, the college intends to add walking and mountain bike trails throughout the area. The college will add more bridges for access over the ditches, security cameras and lighting, Parker said.
“I believe this will be a good use for the land,” Parker said. “We will make it as pretty as we can. We aren’t going to have anything ugly.