(Editor's Note: Each year, Arkansas Business partners with the Arkansas Municipal League to present the Trendsetter City awards, which recognize exceptional initiatives underway in municipalities across the state. Large, medium and small-sized cities were honored in six categories: Diversity and Inclusion; Education/Workforce Development; Infrastructure and Water; Public Works/Environmental and Green Management; Technology and Security; and Tourism Development/Creative Culture. Below is one winner's story. For more, click here.)
Tourism Development/Creative Culture
Winner • 20,000 or Greater
Mayor: Pat McCabe
The three phases of Velocity Park include a wheelchair accessible asphalt pump track and natural surface skills loop open to bikes, skateboards, roller skates and rollerblades and push scooters; additions to the tracks plus landscaping, shade kites and picnic tables; and a children’s bicycle playground with tunnels and ground-level obstacles.
For centuries, people have been drawn to the natural hot springs that flow into what is now downtown Hot Springs and Hot Springs National Park. For almost as long, Hot Springs has worked to provide visitors, as well as residents, with experiences that capitalize on the city’s local history and natural beauty. Hot Springs had shown recent, steady progress in developing such enhancements but wanted to expand and build on what the area already had to offer.
Baseball Hall of Famers Ted Simmons, Lee Smith and former big leaguer Al Hrabosky helped break ground on Majestic Park’s new youth baseball complex.
Since 2020, progress has ramped up with a series of groundbreakings that touch on outdoor activities and city history. A sixth section of the Hot Springs Creek Greenway Trail for bicycles is underway, as well as Phase I of Velocity Park, a three-phase bicycle skills park. Hot Springs, the birthplace of Major League Baseball spring training, broke ground on a new youth baseball complex in Majestic Park. A new pedestrian and bicycle bridge was emplaced on Hollywood Trail, and six pieces of outdoor workout equipment were added near the trail.