Through an announcement letter from Governor Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism recently awarded the City of Hot Springs a $230,000 outdoor recreation grant as a 50% match for the completion of David Watkins Memorial Tunnel Park. The city received the full asking amount for the grant. The funds will be used for lighting, a barrier-free playground, pedestrian bridge, restroom, landscaping and amphitheater completion. The city is partnering with the Park Avenue Community Association on the park project, located at 811 Park Avenue.
Today would have been the late City Manager David Watkins’ 65th birthday. Watkins served as Hot Springs’ city manager from 2012 to until his untimely passing in 2015. During his tenure, he championed the idea of razing and removing an eyesore former hotel that had long presented problems to the Park Avenue community, and replacing it with a park. Following fund raising activities, grant acquisition and the generosity of a large number of area individuals, groups and organizations, the park has already undergone a significant amount of construction and has been generating a revitalizing effect on the surrounding neighborhood. For information visit the David F. Watkins Memorial Park page on Facebook.