by Luke Jones
Posted 5/20/2013 12:00 am
Voters in White Hall approved last week a bond issue that would allow the Jefferson County city to borrow up to $4.5 million for a planned community center and water park.
Mayor Noel Foster said the White Hall Recreation Park has been in the making for about 15 years. The previous mayor, he said, had saved about $3.5 million for the project, which is expected to cost about $7 million.
The inclusion of a water park was the result of a community survey asking what White Hall residents wanted as part of the center, Foster said.
McClelland Consulting Engineers Inc. of Little Rock was chosen to design the project on about 50 city-owned acres at the intersection of state Highways 256 and 365 near the entrance to the Pine Bluff Arsenal. Depending on the cost, the park could include features like water slides, climbing walls and a “lazy” river.
Now that the bond issue has been approved, Foster said, the project will go to bid for a contractor within the next couple of weeks. Construction is estimated to take about 18 months, putting the intended completion in summer of 2014.
Foster said the center will serve, especially, as a place for younger White Hall residents to spend time, and for elderly residents to set up events.
“In addition, we’re marketing our center to people in Fordyce, Monticello and other south Arkansas communities,” he said. “We hope that when somebody comes from, say, Sheridan, or Rison … they stop in our restaurants before leaving to go home, they spend money in our city.”