Parks commission OKs contract for LLCP site plan

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission is moving forward with improvements at Lake Leatherwood City Park.

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 19, the commission approved a contract with an engineering company to prepare site plans for the park.

Chairman Kevin Ruehle said the proposal was on the commission’s agenda at a previous meeting, but he pulled it off after parks director Scott Miskiel received information about a second proposal. It turns out that proposal was too expensive, Ruehle said.

Ruehle said the proposal provides master planning services in the park, specifically in activity areas. The plan won’t encompass the entire park, Ruehle said.

“This is just the built activity areas we have: the cabin area, the field, the meadow and then the ball field area,” Ruehle said. “They’re going to work with us and create conceptual designs that make recommendations for changes, if anything, and where any future development will be and what it could be.”

Ruehle said the ball fields are one of the most underutilized parts of the park. Additionally, Ruehle said, the ball fields are expensive to maintain.

“What do we keep realistically in the soccer fields? Do we repurpose that to become another day-use area that takes some pressure off the current day-use area in the park, and what are the activities down there?” Ruehle said. “That’s the objective of this work.”

Commissioner Ruth Hager moved to approve the contract proposal and the commission unanimously agreed to do so.

Earlier in the meeting, Ruehle said there are compounding issues that need attention in Basin Spring Park. The best approach, Ruehle said, is to hire a consultant to complete an inventory of the park. The bandshell needs repairs, Ruehle said, something the commission will have to take a “really hard look at.”

“Frankly, most of it can’t be repaired the way it was built. The only thing I can figure out is they built a building and built a retaining wall around it,” Ruehle said. “There’s only four inches between the building and the retaining wall, and it has wood siding all the way down.”

Ruehle said parks employees recently removed all the leaves, soil and debris that has collected around the bandshell.

“And it’s all rotten,” Ruehle said. “So making repairs to the inside is going to be kind of pointless until we address that.”

Ruehle said Miskiel is working on a request for proposals to send out to firms that are qualified to complete the assessment at Basin Spring Park. The commission will choose a firm, Ruehle said, to create conceptual plans based on what was discussed at a workshop six months ago.

“We have to have a long-term vision of what it’s going to be before we start chipping away at the little things,” Ruehle said.

Miskiel then reported that he is requesting proposals for work on the dam railing at Lake Leatherwood City Park.

“There’s a strong push for a historically accurate assessment so we can maintain our historical status out there,” Miskiel said.

Also at the meeting, the commission approved the third-quarter financial reports.

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the Auditorium.

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