Residents who access Mount Kessler from the city’s trailhead in south Fayetteville will use a new route the next time they visit the site.
Construction of the new regional park has required a temporary relocation of the trailhead, according to a city news release.
The trail, which is accessed from the gravel parking area at 2600 Judge Cummings Road, has a new entry point on the east side of the property.
“In an effort to ensure the safety of trail users, the trail was moved out of the construction area,” said Alison Jumper, Fayetteville’s park planning superintendent.
Construction of the new park began earlier this year.
The 200-acre site is adjacent to over 300 acres of city-owned woodland tucked away on Mount Kessler in the southwest corner of Fayetteville. Together the two properties will create almost 600 acres of public parkland.
The first phase of construction will include six soccer fields, three lighted baseball diamonds, two concession stands, parking spaces, and associated infrastructure.
Soccer fields are a top priority because the city’s 1,500 youth soccer participants will need a place to play once the University of Arkansas reclaims its Lewis Park complex in 2018.
Other phases could include baseball fields, basketball courts, softball fields, sand volleyball courts, a large pavilion, trails, a playground, an amphitheater, and a splash pad.
Total cost of the first phase is a little over $10.6 million. Funds for the project come from parks development money, parkland dedication fees, and two separated voter-approved bonds. Construction is expected to be complete by fall 2016.
It’s unclear how the city will pay for the full build-out of the park, which was estimated at $28 million in 2006. The city could request a two-year dedicated tax to completely fund the project or simply build new amenities as parks money becomes available.