The Little Rock Board of Directors on Tuesday approved a master parks plan intended to guide the city through 2030. The plan was prepared by Lose & Associates, a Nashville, Tenn., planning firm. The board also approved a strategic parks plan to guide the city through 2024.
City Manager Bruce Moore told the board that the key recommendations of the plan were related to improving maintenance and recreational offerings. “When I look at other cities and other parks departments, that’s where we’re lacking,” he said.
The strategic plan is mostly to do with the nuts and bolts side of managing a parks department. The nearly 200 page master plan includes* many of the sweeping changes Mayor Frank Scott Jr. proposed in March 2020 with the launch of push for a 1-cent sales tax, including building a sports complex at War Memorial Park. The city abandoned the sales tax proposal early in the coronavirus pandemic. It seems likely Scott will ask the board to consider supporting some sort of tax increase at some point this year.
Separately, the board supported an ordinance to fund construction of a mini-pitch soccer facility at Wakefield Park in Southwest Little Rock. Futsal is another name for mini-pitch soccer, which is played on a hard court, often surrounded by walls, which players can bounce the ball off of, lending the game “another dynamic,” as Parks Director John Eckart explained. The U.S. Soccer Foundation** will build the court on a dilapidated tennis court.
In its consent agenda, the board also agreed to hire McClelland Consulting Engineers to provide design and engineering services for the Tri-Creek Greenway Project.
An ordinance that would have allowed a multifamily development at the north end of Brookside Drive, east of Reservoir Road, was defeated 9-0 after many residents of adjacent Leawood spoke against the proposal. Developers Blake Wiggins and his father, Joey Wiggins, had received approval from the Planning Commission to rezone roughly 12 acres from a planned residential development to an urban residential district, which allows up to 36 units per acres.
*An earlier version of the post confused the strategic plan with the master plan.
**An earlier version of the post also mistakenly said the U.S. Soccer Federation would build the court.