Renovated Beech Grove Park opened in Forrest City

by George Jared ([email protected]) 32 views 

The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, the city of Forrest City and the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas collaborated to renovate Beech Grove Park in Forrest City.

Local residents, families and members of the community recently joined Forrest City Mayor Larry Bryant to open the renovated park.

“This means the residents will have a safe place to send their kids and come with their children, walk around the walking track, swing on the swings, and even have little picnics,” Bryant said. “It’s a new asset to the city. We had it in the past, but now it’s upgraded, and it will make quality of life in this neighborhood much better.”

Plans for the renovation began in September 2021. The updated park features new playground equipment with ADA accessibility, including ramps for each area, as well as a new pavilion and paved walking trail. Bryant said the ADA-accessible equipment will make the park more accessible to individuals and families.

“This should expand the population of people coming to the playground, now that we have ADA access to everything out here,” Bryant said. “It’s something that we didn’t have before, but now people who are in wheelchairs, or are disabled, they have a way to come and enjoy the new equipment we have.”

The renovation project was funded through the Feeding America Community Accelerator Initiative, which focuses on improving food insecurity through community partnerships in the Delta Region, as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s High Obesity program.

The Arkansas High Obesity Program is an initiative through the Cooperative Extension Service, the research and teaching arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, to address obesity in 11 Arkansas counties, including St. Francis County.

“We have been honored to have the opportunity to work with the city of Forrest City and the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas to create what we hope is a positive physical activity environment for the community surrounding Beech Grove Park,” said Jessica Vincent, extension community and public health outreach specialist for the Division of Agriculture.

“Hopefully, we can help get people up to 5,000 steps a day on our walking track,” Bryant said. “It’s a nice track, it’s not underwater, everything is in good shape out here. We’re trying to have a place where it can be safe for everyone.”