Little Rock Parks & Recreation Awarded $750,000 for Western Hills Renovations

Seal of Little Rock
Thursday, Jan 09, 2020

Media Release

City of Little Rock Public Relations (501) 371-6801

Mike Garrity | (c) 501 210 5071 | (e)

Little Rock is one of 18 cities in the country to receive a grant from the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership, which is managed by the National Park Service. Little Rock Parks & Recreation was awarded $750,000 to enhance public outdoor recreation in the Western Hills Legacy Park. The park serves an economically disadvantaged and underserved neighborhood of southwestern Little Rock.  

“We are very excited about this award,” said John Eckart, Director of Little Rock Parks & Recreation, of the grant that was part of $11.7 million distributed in competitive grants to benefit underserved communities. “The plans that we have for this grant will allow us to increase and improve the opportunities within Western Hills Park, but also continue the process of improving our trails system, with the goal of connecting all parts of Little Rock through our greenway trail systems.”

Plans for Western Hills include a custom natural playground, fishing piers, picnic pavilions, restroom facilities and a paved and soft-surface trail system for all types of users. All of these new items will have ADA-accessible features.

The grants were awarded to cities in 16 states. Arkansas and Wisconsin are the only states to have multiple cities selected. The City of Fort Smith also received a grant to purchase land and create a new trail.

“The benefits derived from connections to our public lands and parks are endless,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela in a release by the National Park Service. “These grants will expand important recreational opportunities in neighborhood parks and public lands for Americans in underserved areas.”  

Grants will be awarded through the ORLP program, which grew out of a 2014 Congressional directive to create a nationally competitive grant program to complement the 54-year old Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) State Assistance Program. Both programs are administered by the National Park Service.