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Scrap yard to be multifunctional park, amphitheater

Posted: June 28, 2014 - 6:21pm
The latest sketch of plans for the Conway Scrap Metal site shows a programmable park space that could be utilized for farmers markets, outdoor exercise classes and general recreation paired with an amphitheater/retention pond to help with storm water flooding.
The latest sketch of plans for the Conway Scrap Metal site shows a programmable park space that could be utilized for farmers markets, outdoor exercise classes and general recreation paired with an amphitheater/retention pond to help with storm water flooding.

The City plans to turn what some have considered an eyesore for many years into a public space for all by transforming Conway Scrap Metal into a vibrant public park and amphitheater.

Kim Williams, director of Conway Downtown Partnership, said although Conway Scrap Metal has been in Downtown Conway for 40-plus years, the West family realized, with Conway’s changing downtown makeup, they would be a better fit in a more industrial setting.

“I applaud the West Family for their forward thinking and dedication for the next wave of DT development to take hold,” she said.

The latest sketch of plans for the Conway Scrap Metal site shows a programmable park space that could be utilized for farmers markets, outdoor exercise classes and general recreation paired with an amphitheater/retention pond to help with storm water flooding.

Gateway Planning Group, the design consultants for the Markham Street revitalization project, said the Conway Scrap Metal yard took up such a large area, and they wanted to come up with a design that would take advantage of all that space.

“We wanted to make sure it’s not underutilized making it just a park or green space, amphitheater or play ground,” said Brad Lonberger, principal at Gateway Planning Group. “We want to make it multifunctional for different activities throughout the week.”

Lonberger’s inspiration for the scrap yard revitalization is the Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City, a multimillion dollar renovation of a city block to include a tropical conservatory, dog park, restaurant, children’s splash fountains, as well as multiple performances spaces and park amenities.

“Our recommendation is to help the community and City understand the programming angle,” he said.

The Myriad Botanical Gardens hosts a number of public events such as Shakespeare in the Park, Race for the Cure and a multitude of festivals and concerts.

“The sun is setting on a historic business, but the sun is rising on a new chapter for Markham,” said Scott Grummer, program manager of Community Development for the City of Conway.

Gateway Planning Group will host their last public input meeting after work hours in an open house format at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce on July 28 before they return to submit their final recommendations for Markham Street revitalization later this year.

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at michelle.corbet@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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lachowsj
5282
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lachowsj 06/28/14 - 09:26 pm
1
0
Very good plan

This is a very good proposal. The key will be to program a variety of activities to keep the area busy. Otherwise it will defeat the purpose of a walkable Markham Street and just be a green barrier to the flow into the downtown.

Raving Bear
632
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Raving Bear 06/28/14 - 10:11 pm
3
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lets go play in a park that

lets go play in a park that is full of heavy metals and other hazardous wastes from 40 years of scrapping... NOT.

conwayville
533
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conwayville 06/28/14 - 10:45 pm
2
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Not to mention 40+ years of

Not to mention 40+ years of oils from leaking equipment and scrapped engines, scrapped lawn & garden equipment, and other fluids that have been introduced into the soil.

In my opinion, the scrap yard should have been left alone. The West family wasn't voluntarily moving anywhere-they were more or less forced out by Tabby's "forward thinking". Did a lot of business with them, always decent folks, and a venue to help both the locals and to help recycle left over materials. Now everything goes to that other place of off Oak st where the auto 'salvage' used to be, which has a history of employing the rudest, most disrespectful piles of trash that can possibly walk the earth. I'll drive to LR or Morrilton before I ever set foot in that place again!

Elmer Fudd
3982
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Elmer Fudd 06/29/14 - 11:07 am
3
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Raving Bear and conwayville

That place has been a junk yard a lot longer than 40 years.If I remember correctly it was once called Hoyt's junk yard when I was a pup and that was mumble years ago. Some older folks in this forum might recall that. You would have to dig half way to hell to get all of the contaminates out.

Diogenes
9819
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Diogenes 06/29/14 - 11:32 am
3
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It's been a scrap yard since 1908

According to Ms Vivian. The West's have had the yard for the past 40 years.

Elmer Fudd
3982
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Elmer Fudd 06/29/14 - 12:00 pm
2
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Diogenes

my bad. Just saw her article and it was right in front of my face. I happen to know Vivian and her family. I lived in the old part of Conway where she and her siblings did. She does a great job of keeping the history of the City and County alive. I for one appreciate her efforts.

1122
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Vivian Lawson Hogue 06/29/14 - 06:34 pm
2
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Thanks, "Elmer" for giving me

Thanks, "Elmer" for giving me credentials! I do enjoy digging around in our history and seeing who and what I come up with, or where or when something happened. My favorite walking encyclopedia of Conway is gone now, so I have to dig deeper. Someone on here knows who that was. :-) At any rate, I appreciate YOUR appreciation!

Diogenes
9819
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Diogenes 06/29/14 - 07:54 pm
3
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Ms Vivian's truly awesome

Awesome mirrored in the only way (or one) I ever knew it. There is no higher complement I could give her.

And, in all honesty, I'd probably would have stopped mowing the yard as much, if I didn't think she were checking to see that I was.

1122
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Vivian Lawson Hogue 06/29/14 - 08:20 pm
3
0
You're very kind, diogenes,

You're very kind, Diogenes, but if you ever see a car pass and someone is waving a straw hat in your direction, you'll know that I am, indeed, checking.

David
337
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David 06/29/14 - 01:55 pm
2
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Programming angle

I'm a fan of cities with good parks. However, comparing Conway with OK City is more of a stretch than I can make. Sounds like there is definitely an angle involving this planned park and I think the residents of Conway are about to get "utilized." Again. Hope the city has some multifunctional sanitation crews to keep that "retention pond" from actually becoming one. Perhaps the "multitude of festivals and concerts" that we have now have just been eagerly waiting for an opportunity to move from heated and otherwise air conditioned enclosures to an outdoor setting. The multitude of walkers and bicycle riders will certainly overwhelm the streets of west Conway as they abandon their air conditioned SUVs and head for the amphitheater along the sidewalks and riding trails bringing them into town. Having a new park will, of course, relieve some of the burden on Conway's other overcrowded and overflowing parks. For example, the amphitheater in the Hendrix Village always seems about to sink into the nearby creek from the weight of all the people there. Then again, providing residents what they need is the business of city government.

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