David F. Watkins Memorial Park

General Information

IMG_0754David F. Watkins Memorial Park is located at 811 Park Avenue and is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

It features ADA sidewalks and bridge, bike racks, a water fountain, an all-inclusive playground, an amphitheater with a performing stage, a memorial tree and restrooms.

The park is available for reservations. For more information or to reserve, call the Parks Department at 501-321-6871.


The David F. Watkins Memorial Park is named after late City Manager David Watkins (12/6/53-8/17/15).

david watkins formal portraitHe was born in Birmingham, Alabama and later attended Berry High School, where he excelled in football and was voted "most intellectual" of his high school class. Once he graduated, he attended Auburn University and received a degree in public administration. He later went on to attend the University of Kansas, earning a Masters of Public Administration.

Watkins began his public service career in 1977:

  • Served as the assistant to the City Manager of Ottawa, Kansas. 
  • Served as City Manager of Ottawa from 1981 until 1984. 
  • Served as City Administration of Lenexa, Kansas from 2004 until 2006.
  • Served as City Manager for Bryant Texas from 2006-2010.
  • David and His wife, Kay, teamed up as real estate consultants from 2010-2012.
  • Served as City Manager for Hot Springs from April 2012 until August 2015.

Watkins was known as the "jump-starter" for many projects that are still in progress which includes cleaning up the Majestic Hotel site; revitalizing the downtown buildings; acquiring new water sources for the City and "accelerating the growth of the City he had grown to love."

For pictures of the park dedication, visit https://flic.kr/s/aHsmV32BRi

To view the park dedication video, visit https://youtu.be/Nl01F4fXPKI