Donation to fund musical playground at Wilson Park

One of Fayetteville’s most iconic parks will soon add another feather to its cap.

Fayetteville officials this week announced a $30,000 donation from longtime local developer Fadil Bayyari that will fund a new musical playground at Wilson Park in central Fayetteville.

Bayyari on Tuesday requested to the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board that the area be named the “David Lyle Bayyari Musical Park” in honor of his late son who enjoyed Wilson Park as a child. Bayyari said he got the idea for the park while visiting a musical playground in Telluride, Colorado.

“I was really impressed with how rugged (the playground) was built…and the friendliness of the whole thing,” Bayyari said. “Just being there sold me on the idea, and I thought ‘We have to do something like this in Fayetteville.'”

Specific details about the musical equipment won’t be available until after the city’s bidding process is complete, but the playgrounds usually include outdoor instruments like chimes, metallophones and drums.

Connie Edmonston, the city’s Parks and Recreation director, said the new area will be constructed near the center of Wilson Park as part of a $459,000 renovation project backed by $150,000 from an Arkansas Parks and Tourism Outdoor Recreation Grant. The work includes a complete replacement of the park’s main playground equipment, more parking, and some street work.

Edmonston said musical playgrounds are becoming popular at parks across the country. She said officials have wanted to add a musical playground in Fayetteville, but just haven’t found the funds to make it happen.

“We’re so thankful for this donation,” Edmonston said. “Mr. Bayyari has been a friend of this city and our parks for many years.”

In 1995, Bayyari donated an extra three acres of land for the city-owned Bayyari Park at his David Lyle subdivision off Huntsville Road in southeast Fayetteville.

Bayyari now lives in Springdale, but said Wilson Park was one of his son’s favorite places to play when his family resided in Fayetteville.

“That park is very dear to our hearts, and we’re happy to do something for that part of town,” said Bayyari.

Alison Jumper, Park Planning Superintendent, said the bidding process for the renovation project would occur this fall with construction coming soon afterwards. If all goes according to plan, the new playground and musical equipment should be ready by early 2017.