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FORT SMITH -- The public and private effort to develop a bike/skate park on the riverfront got a boost Friday with the donation of $100,000 by First National Bank of Fort Smith.

Bank President Sam Sicard made the announcement during a presentation of the plans for the 3-acre park just north of Fort Smith's Harry E. Kelley Riverfront Park. Plans are to open the park next Memorial Day.

"We're raising privately the dollars for this state-of-the-art regional destination bike/skate park that will be very unique to the state of Arkansas and this region," Sicard said.

The amenities of the park, which will be paid for through private donations, will feature biking and skating facilities. One of the backers, Bill Hanna of Hanna Oil Co., said the amenities are expected to cost $600,000, for which $400,000 has been raised. Sicard said the biking and skating areas will be set up so young and old can use them.

"We're going to harvest the river and use it for something you can't really measure," Hanna said. "It's an experience."

The city will purchase the land from the Marshals Museum for $200,000 and spend an estimated $500,000 on the park's infrastructure, including a 65-slot parking lot, landscaping and irrigation, Fort Smith Parks and Recreation Director Doug Reinert said.

The land had been donated to the museum by the Westphal family of Fort Smith to be the site of the museum, but the site was moved farther north along the river, leaving the donated land vacant.

Another backer, Bobby Aldridge, said the project is in the design phase but should be completed in the next 30 to 45 days. The project will be let to bid by the end of November, he said.

The work will be done under two separate contracts, Aldridge said, with contractors being hired around the first of the year and work starting as soon as weather permits.

NW News on 10/15/2017

Print Headline: Fort Smith bike/skate park plan gets $100,000 bank gift

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