FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2019
Contact: Ted Jack
Park Planning Superintendent
Parks and Recreation Department
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Event for Completion of Gregory Park Improvements
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. —Mayor Lioneld Jordan invites all to a ribbon-cutting ceremony and community event celebrating the completion of improvements at Gregory Park (69 E. Sycamore Street). The event is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30.
Event activities include hiking, mountain biking, hammocking, and bean bag toss. A guided nature hike will begin at 4:45 p.m. and the ribbon-cutting ceremony will start at 5:30 p.m. Free hot dogs will be available. Parking is limited, and attendees are encouraged to use alternative transportation. Ozark Regional Transit’s route #10 stops directly in front of the N. College Ave. McDonald's.
Gregory Park was donated to the City of Fayetteville by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1964 and serves as a centrally located 19-acre natural area. It’s an outdoor resource for employees and visitors of the adjacent Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks and for students and staff of the nearby Woodland Middle School and Elizabeth Richardson Development Center.
A proposal for park improvements that would serve both mountain bikers and trail walkers was presented to the City by the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists (OORC), a Northwest Arkansas mountain bicycle advocacy group. The goal was to create courses for beginner and intermediate level mountain bicyclists as well as for school teams participating in the new National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) programs. With a recommendation from Steuart Walton and Tom Walton, OORC secured a grant from the Walton Family Foundation. Completion of the project was made possible through City funds, additional grants, and donations of resources and significant volunteer time.
The existing loop trail was enhanced, and two new soft-surface trails were created. Mountain biking additions include a modular concrete pump track, a modular skills course, two gravity-flow downhill bicycle trails, and a kiosk with trail map and information. New benches, terraces and an accessible picnic table allow for spectator views of the courses.
Additional park improvements include new signage, a boulder field and a “hammock hangout” constructed as an Eagle Scout Service project. Artist Jason Jones created a mural depicting an Arkansas-native skink to one of the wooden trail features. The mural was donated to the City of Fayetteville from OORC with support from Experience Fayetteville.
The parking and pavilion area was reconfigured to serve as a trail head and gathering place for groups and individuals, with an accessible pathway. Construction also included native stone walls on the steep site, as well as addition of features that help maintain water quality.
In addition to the Walton Family Foundation and previously mentioned groups – other project collaborators include 81 Construction, Progressive Trail Design, Illinois River Watershed Partnership, McDonald’s, and numerous volunteers.
Fayetteville residents, through public meetings and surveys, have expressed a strong desire for parks that provide contact with nature and opportunities to be active. To learn more about the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and projects, please visit this section of the City’s website.