Representatives from the Central Arkansas Off-Road Group met with the Conway City Council to present their plans for the proposed Blaney Hill Outdoor Recreational Park.
The park would be on the site of the old landfill at Blaney Hill Road. The site has been released by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality for limited development.
“We would like to use this site for an outdoor recreation park,” COG Secretary Michael Hinchcliff said. “We’re not looking for just another park. We’re not looking for just another place for people to ride bikes. We want something that’s special.”
Conway Mayor Tab Townsell and council members unanimously endorsed the park to allow COG to move forward with fundraising. The city will also have to annex the site, which encompasses 110+ acres and borders the city.
The proposed park would include opportunities for outdoor activities such as mountain biking, trail running and possible areas for other specialty activities such as disc golf and remote control airplanes.
“If we design it properly — which we will — we’re going to make it where it suits a very broad range of users so that it will appeal to everybody,” Hinchcliff said.
COG estimates the park to cost $500,000 to $600,000, Hinchcliff said, and the group is looking for grants to pay for the initial development. COG will then take responsibility for ongoing maintenance.
Alderman Wesley Pruitt said he has been part of volunteer maintenance on different trails and has seen firsthand how the group and its members have a good track record.
Hinchcliff said they are using Cedar Glades Park in Hot Springs as a model.
“They took an old landfill and developed it as a trail system,” he said. “They host several events throughout the year that actually brings people from all over the country and all over the world ... We would like to do the same with this site.”
COG hopes to use a professional trail design builder to optimize the use of the land. The group has a three-phase master plan that is dependent on funding.
The first phase would be a basic minimal park with no plans for water with Phase Two bringing possible playgrounds, pavilions and bathrooms to the site. The third phase could happen at any time, Hinchcliff said, and would encompass specialty areas such as a disc golf course and other specialty outdoor activities. This final phase would depend on stakeholders stepping up to contribute for their specific activities.
(Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1212. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)