The Valley Street Skatepark was awarded Facility of the Year by the Arkansas Recreation & Parks Association during its recent annual conference at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Parks & Trails Director Jean Wallace accepted the award in the Facility Under $500,000 category.
The skatepark, located at 411 Valley Street, began in 1993 with a collection of donated wooden ramps, then with donated fiberboard ramps in 2003. After the donated installations succumbed to weather, the Hot Springs Board of Directors funded a grant match in 2014 for custom designed concrete ramps.
Utilizing a city budget of $150,000, Wallace secured a matching Outdoor Recreation Grant for $75,000 and held an interactive design workshop soliciting input from local skaters. The final ramp layout is a unique design that has drawn praise from skaters inside and outside Arkansas.
The park features accessible amenities and a connection to the award-winning Hot Springs Creek Greenway Trail. Picnic tables and benches, donated by a local fabrication shop, are shaded by large trees. Adjacent raingardens clean the parking lot and skate surface water run-off before it enters Hot Springs Creek. Native plants in the gardens provide beautiful landscaping to complete the park experience.
A grand opening celebration on March 27, 2014 featured three days of activities including skateboarding contests and exhibitions, prizes, food, music and a ribbon cutting ceremony. Since the skatepark’s opening, skaters of all ages and skill levels can be seen at the park. The local skateboarding community maintains a sense of ownership and pride in the facility.
“The Valley Street Skatepark has increased our city’s outdoor recreational diversity and helped transform the Valley Street corridor,” said Wallace. The park, open at 5 a.m. daily, closes at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at midnight on Friday and Saturday. Call 321-6871 for details.