The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA) Board of Directors have approved a plan to transfer a small park near the Sebastian County soccer fields to Sebastian County for use as a park and learning fields for the Sebastian County Extension Office.
The new Sebastian County Extension Office at 7600 Taylor Ave. is across the street from the four-acre Constitution Park. Shaw nee Ticher, staff chair of the Sebastian County Extension Office, said by working in conjunction with Ben Geren Park and the Sebastian County Conservation District, the office could create a peaceful educating park on the land.
“We would love to have access to this park as a recreational area for our 4-H program, EHS program and our Master Gardener program,” Ticher said Thursday (Sept. 15) during the FCRA regular meeting.
The park will be a space for 4-H camps, including fishing and outdoor skills camps, an area for picnics and community service projects, and a place for the Extension Homemakers to meet, she said.
“It will be a relaxing place to have meetings without having to rent out a bank community building and be outside to enjoy nature,” Ticher said.
FCRA Executive Director Daniel Mann said he requested the park incorporate a vegetable garden that could possibly provide fresh produce to restaurants at Chaffee Crossing.Scott Whittingham with the Sebastian County Conservation District said ideas for the park included gazebo display panels on site history, native plants/stream bank stabilization, native animals, water life, participating agencies and boards for events.
There also could be a play structure constructed where a swing set already is on the property, benches placed around the pond, a wildflower plot, food gardens, stream bank stabilization demonstrations, bat boxes, information plaques and wood duck boxes, a memo from Whittingham indicated.
Sebastian County Parks would maintain the park with mowing and other maintenance, and any additions of raised beds, gardens, etc., would be facilitated by the Extension Office or the Conservation District and would need prior approval from Sebastian County Parks and the Sebastian County Judge, Jay Randolph, Sebastian County Park Administrator, said in a memo to Sebastian County Judge David Hudson.
“When I think about this project, I think families and children. The Extension Office helps youth reach their potential early in life. They teach leadership skills and responsibility through their programs,” Hudson said. “The building we were able to get for them has been a tremendous asset. … And this property and what it will support through the programs offered, I don’t think there will be an extension office in Arkansas that has this type of amenity. I think it’s just going to be a great thing.”