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LAKE SPRINGDALE: New City Park Possible

WATER AND SEWER COMMISSION TO OFFER PROPERTY DEED

Posted: September 27, 2011 at 5:21 a.m.

Johnathan Pineda, 12, of Springdale, fishes Sunday at Lake Springdale with his family. The Springdale Water and Sewer Commission is considering giving the lake and area around it to the city for an official park.

— Lake Springdale may soon become part of the city park system.

The Water and Sewer Commission plans to offer the city the deed to the lake and some property around it. The property could then become a new park.

“I think this would be a positive move for everyone,” said Chris Weiser, commission chairman. “People would be able to receive park amenities that much quicker.”

AT A GLANCE

Springdale Parks

Springdale has six parks that total 275 acres. That is the smallest number of parks and the smallest acreage (by 2009 figures) of the four largest cities in Northwest Arkansas.

Source: Staff Report

The lake has been used as a branch of nearby J.B. Hunt Park, with the cooperation of the commission. The city built a trail around the lake that connects to Hunt Park. The Parks and Recreation Department would like to build restrooms and a pavilion near the trail, said Rick McWhorter, parks director.

Adding amenities can take time, said Ron Mynatt, a Springdale resident who serves on the city trails task force.

“Taking over the lake would eliminate a level of bureaucracy,” Mynatt said. “Everything we’ve done in the past we’ve had to run through two bodies.”

The commission has been cooperative with the city, said Mayor Doug Sprouse, but the idea of controlling the lake directly is exciting.

“I think it would be great for the city,” Sprouse said. “With all the trail development coming, Lake Springdale could become a focal point.”

The plans for the Razorback Greenway, a 36-mile trail stretching from south Fayetteville to Lake Bella Vista, include a section of the Lake Springdale trail loop. A $15 million federal grant will pay for a portion of the greenway.

A trailhead for the greenway is planned for the corner of West Pump Station and Silent Grove roads, on property owned by the Water and Sewer Commission. When city officials asked permission to build the trailhead, the commission responded by offering the property to the city, Weiser said.

The city deeded over the lake property when it formed the commission, said Charles Harwell, commission attorney. The spring-fed lake was used as a water source. The water utility has no use for the lake now, said Rene Langston, executive director of the utility.

Donation of the land looks like a winning proposition, said Alderman Brad Bruns. Bruns is the chairman of the City Council Parks and Recreation Committee.

“Nobody has thrown up any problems yet,” Bruns said. “We really need to seriously took at this.”

If the lake property becomes a park, additional maintenance will be minimal, McWhorter said. The parks department already mows around the trail and would mow around the trailhead, even if the city doesn’t acquire the lake.

The lake levee, which runs along Spring Creek, was repaired last year. Erosion caused by the creek had threatened the levee before a $1.1 million renovation. The Water and Sewer Commission paid about $600,000 and the city $500,000.

“Those repairs should be good for many years,” McWhorter said.

The city has received an Arkansas Game & Fish Commission grant of $100,000 to create a wildlife viewing area adjacent to the lake property, Mynatt said. The viewing area would be on land donated to the city by the Morton family.

The city has applied for a grant to build an handicapped-accessible fishing dock, said Alan Pugh, city chief engineering coordinator.

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