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Plans for War Memorial Park


epiphyte

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A little over a year ago I was involved in a few "open meetings" involving the changes that are to be made at War Memorial Park. At those meetings a few things were discussed: Closing Van Buren through the park and moving the thoroughfare to the east end of the park near the zoo, Closing or reducing the golf course to 9 holes, allowing the wetland area of the park to be reclaimed by Coleman Creek, building open spaces ( or not building on open spaces) for non-dedicated activities. There were no real plans at the time for Ray Winder Field. Those meetings were halted and few details about those plans have been released. The only change I have noticed in the park is the new erosion control terracing at the entrance to War Memorial Stadium and the sculpture at the entrance that can be viewd from Markham Street. Is there any more information on this development?

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A little over a year ago I was involved in a few "open meetings" involving the changes that are to be made at War Memorial Park. At those meetings a few things were discussed: Closing Van Buren through the park and moving the thoroughfare to the east end of the park near the zoo, Closing or reducing the golf course to 9 holes, allowing the wetland area of the park to be reclaimed by Coleman Creek, building open spaces ( or not building on open spaces) for non-dedicated activities. There were no real plans at the time for Ray Winder Field. Those meetings were halted and few details about those plans have been released. The only change I have noticed in the park is the new erosion control terracing at the entrance to War Memorial Stadium and the sculpture at the entrance that can be viewd from Markham Street. Is there any more information on this development?
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Hey Architect - maybe, just maybe, there are folks out there learning to play the game, and maybe, just maybe, WMGC is the exact kind of course that MANY golfers are looking for. Short, tight and very challenging.

Prime park land..? For what..? How many acres do you need to spread out a blanket..?

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Hey Architect - maybe, just maybe, there are folks out there learning to play the game, and maybe, just maybe, WMGC is the exact kind of course that MANY golfers are looking for. Short, tight and very challenging.

Prime park land..? For what..? How many acres do you need to spread out a blanket..?

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I think it is important to note that the golf course is not a profitable venture for the parks department. If I remember correctly from those meetings, it is losing 200k annually. The parks department does a fantastic job with few resources, but the fact that the golf course is a money sink for taxpayers should be considered as heavily as any other factor.

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I think it is important to note that the golf course is not a profitable venture for the parks department. If I remember correctly from those meetings, it is losing 200k annually. The parks department does a fantastic job with few resources, but the fact that the golf course is a money sink for taxpayers should be considered as heavily as any other factor.
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The amount of land within War Memorial Park holds the potential for many uses, all of which should remain public open space. The Zoo is out of space. Deeding the Ray Winder property will give the Zoo the future opportunity to become a substantially better Zoo. IMO the Zoo is not being well led. I believe a small, poorly led Zoo has a greater risk of disappearing than a much larger Zoo that promises the potential to attract better leadership.

I tend to hold the Zoo Board of Governors more accountable than the City employees (including Mike Blakely) running the Zoo. I could be wrong to give Mike a free pass on this though. I'd like to see someone with heavy national or regional Zoo experience (like a past Zoo director) and someone with strong conservation experience on the Zoo Board of governors. Currently, it is comprised of local socialites. There are no professional qualifications for being on the Zoo Board of Governors. From my interactions with the LR Zoo, the Zoo Board of Governors micro-manages the Zoo.

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  • 1 month later...
I think this would be political suicide for the city to accept the proposal to turn this into a parking lot. There are too many civic/public demands for improving the park. I'm a strong proponent for this to be deeded to the zoo for expansion. After all, the zoo "says it no longer has any room to expand and needs the property."....right?!
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I totally agree on this. Looking at Ray Winder and the surrounding property on Google maps you can see that the field is pretty well boxed in with the Red Cross on the north and Ricks Armory on the east. If UAMS gets this property it will be a parking lot for a long, long time. A more suitable solution to the Med Center's space needs would be to replace the armory. It's adjacent to the UAMS grounds and is not a new building, I took my physical there in 1962.
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I think this would be political suicide for the city to accept the proposal to turn this into a parking lot. There are too many civic/public demands for improving the park. I'm a strong proponent for this to be deeded to the zoo for expansion. After all, the zoo "says it no longer has any room to expand and needs the property."....right?!
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I don't think the residents of Capitol View and Stift's Station would tend to agree with you on that.

UAMS has other directions it can go and acquire land closer to the main complex of buildings, this is pretty remote. Tearing down more homes east of campus would make more sense.

The zoo on the other hand has no options unless the city wants to close the golf course.

This is a no-brainer to me.

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  • 1 month later...

I was hearing something about Bob Johnson who I believe is a member of the Arkansas Senate has been talking about trying to close the zoo and put in a tech corridor. Anyone heard any more about this? While the idea might have some merit it just seemed badly worded by Johnson. First why does the zoo have to close? he seemed to have problems with it being 'landlocked'. Does a zoo have to be on a city's edge to be a good zoo? Then he also made a comment about when was the last time anyone was at the zoo and when was the last time some of these 'greenies' caught fish in the pond out there in the park? Even if he idea of using that land for something else and moving the zoo has merit. His way of going about it doesn't sound too bright. Apparently the zoo had over 300,000 people last year so maybe it's not so unused as he seems to suggest.

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I was hearing something about Bob Johnson who I believe is a member of the Arkansas Senate has been talking about trying to close the zoo and put in a tech corridor. Anyone heard any more about this? While the idea might have some merit it just seemed badly worded by Johnson. First why does the zoo have to close? he seemed to have problems with it being 'landlocked'. Does a zoo have to be on a city's edge to be a good zoo? Then he also made a comment about when was the last time anyone was at the zoo and when was the last time some of these 'greenies' caught fish in the pond out there in the park? Even if he idea of using that land for something else and moving the zoo has merit. His way of going about it doesn't sound too bright. Apparently the zoo had over 300,000 people last year so maybe it's not so unused as he seems to suggest.
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I was hearing something about Bob Johnson who I believe is a member of the Arkansas Senate has been talking about trying to close the zoo and put in a tech corridor. Anyone heard any more about this? While the idea might have some merit it just seemed badly worded by Johnson. First why does the zoo have to close? he seemed to have problems with it being 'landlocked'. Does a zoo have to be on a city's edge to be a good zoo? Then he also made a comment about when was the last time anyone was at the zoo and when was the last time some of these 'greenies' caught fish in the pond out there in the park? Even if he idea of using that land for something else and moving the zoo has merit. His way of going about it doesn't sound too bright. Apparently the zoo had over 300,000 people last year so maybe it's not so unused as he seems to suggest.
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Johnson is the President Pro Tem of the Senate. His statement about the Zoo includes finding more land and even getting the state to support it. The golf course would be a fine location for an expanded Zoo. He is also in favor of bulldozing Ray Winder field. At the same time he is in favor of developing a tech corridor along I-630. He would also like to combine UALR and UCA so central Arkansas would have a major university.
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I am okay with moving the zoo, but am NOT okay with closing it altogether which is what some have suggested.

And if UCA and UALR were to combine, Little Rock (most likely) would come out empty handed, as I think the UCA campus is superior and safer. I also don't see it going the other way because UCA has such an impact on Conway's economy.

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