JONESBORO — The ceremony was billed as a “groundbreaking,” but it’s hard to dig up asphalt with ceremonial shovels.
Still, dozens of members of the community turned out Wednesday to hear Mayor Harold Copenhaver outline plans for Jonesboro’s newest park, to be constructed at Union Street on West Monroe Avenue.
The park, adjacent to the United Way and Winter Wonderland buildings, will include a pavilion and playground, and will replace Monroe Avenue asphalt from Union to Madison Street.
“This is going to be the first step of many of what the community will see,” Copenhaver said, noting that the city has made revitalizing the downtown area a priority. “This means cleaning it up in some ways, adding amenities. And it attracts both businesses and citizens. And it creates a new all-inclusive for all economic backgrounds.”
Copenhaver defined downtown as not just Main Street, but several blocks beyond in each direction, including Arkansas State University.
“What we have seen is an investment by a lot of people downtown,” the mayor continued. “From townhomes, condominiums, a lot of habitants are living downtown. So we want to provide ample green space for those citizens and individuals to be able to walk to our downtown community … and we want to make it accessible for all.”
Danny Kapales, the city’s parks and recreation director, said the new park, for the most part, will be constructed by city employees. He said the city will be looking for more opportunities to develop small neighborhood parks in the city’s oldest sections of town.
Craig Light, the city’s chief engineer, said he hopes to make more modifications to Monroe, at least to Flint Street this year, by adding a bike path to the new park.
The park construction is expected to cost $300,000.