The Fort Smith Board of Directors unanimously approved a contract Tuesday for the design and construction of splash pads at two city parks.
The $388,000 contract with Creative Design Pools is a step toward converting wading pools into splash pads at Tilles Park and Woodlawn Park. The wading pools shut down in 2015 because of budget cuts.
The board also took a step in the direction of closing a portion of 13th Street by voting unanimously to set a public hearing on the subject for its next meeting, 6 p.m. April 3. The city is legally required to have a public hearing before it can vote on closing the street.
Fort Smith nonprofit organization 64.6 Downtown requested that the city close 13th Street between Rogers and Garrison avenues because it is developing a park that will be at the intersection of Garrison and Rogers avenues and will incorporate Harwood Park, the section of 13th Street between Garrison and Rogers avenues and the triangle-shaped property formed by Garrison and Rogers avenues and 13th Street.
John McIntosh of 64.6 Downtown expects that organizers will continue raising money for Gateway Park, a "gateway" into downtown, through 2018 with tentative plans to break ground near the end of the year and complete the park by summer 2019, he said.
Organizers are planning to have a statue of Judge Isaac C. Parker at the park.
"We're asking for artists' interpretation of how they would depict that image — maybe he's just standing there, maybe not. Maybe there's other action," McIntosh said.
The board also:
• Tabled an ordinance amending the human resources policy for non-uniformed employees regarding family and medical leave of absence (7-0).
• Approved a resolution accepting a change order with Axioo Construction Inc. for the construction of Fort Smith Park parking lot ($2,063 decrease) (6-1 with At-large Director Tracy Pennartz opposed).
• Appointed LeeAnn Hicklin-Cox, Robert Naumoff and Stacie Gibson to the Animal Services Advisory Board, Jim Harris, Karen Wuthrich and Sara Edmiston to the Housing Assistance Board and Josh Carson and Richard Morris to the Planning Commission.