An application required public meeting regarding an Arkansas Parks and Recreation Grant was held Thursday night at Jeral Hampton Meeting Place.
"What we were doing was basically opening up for community comments and questions," said Booneville Development Corporation/South Logan County Chamber of Commerce executive director Stacey McCollough.
Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins, representatives of industry, the Boys & Girls Club, the Booneville Sr. Center, and the Chamber board, and even area parents were in attendance McCollough said.
"It was really a good crowd. I was impressed. We had a good mix of age groups."
McCollough and the BDC/Chamber are working through the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District to try to acquire a grant for as much as $250,000.
The project’s priority is the establishment of soccer fields west of the current baseball/softball complex on Highway 10 east of the city. And, McCollough said, the soccer project is one that will require multiple phases.
In its April 2012 meeting the Booneville City Council approved expending $30,000 to purchase 10 acres of land from the Booneville Industrial Development Corporation for the soccer fields.
"You have to show that the community is interested and you have to show that you’re listening to the community," he said. "We’re looking at what the needs of the community are and the soccer program has been organized for 15, 16 years and they’ve never had a dedicated field to play on."
McCollough said there are about 135 kids in the soccer program but the belief is that with fields even more would play.
However, because the state likes to see its money widely distributed, the entire park system was viewed by WAPDD recently.
Last week’s meeting will also be used for consideration for the grant, as will a survey conducted in May.
Initially, part of the plan was to replace the footbridge at Marcelle Phillips City Park but with proceeds from the annual Booneville Open Cow Pasture Pool dedicated to the project, and the city possibly having found a way to remedy the bridge, the project needed ideas.
To that end the group posed suggestions including adding a grill at the pavilion at Marcelle Phillips City Park, adding more vandal-proof lighting at the tennis court, connecting the trails — also something the city is already working toward through a re-routing of the creek, McCollough said — issues with the city pool, and a Frisbee golf course.
Also questioned was handicap accessible parking and other accessiblity issues as well as replacing the fall material in the playground area.
All of which, McCollough said, should bode well for the application.