Work begins on new Turrell city park

Work begins on new Turrell city park

Mayor: ‘ This is a great thing’

It may not look like much now.

But to Turrell Mayor Dorothy Cooper it’s the most beautiful sight she has ever seen.

The city began construction on a new park which, when everything is completed, will feature a full basketball court, pavilion, and children’s playground — amenities the city has been lacking for its residents for years.

Nothing is up yet,” Cooper said. “But it is beautiful. I have tears in my eyes every load of dirt they dump.”

The city broke ground on the park, which is located on a city-owned lot behind the fire department on Hwy. 77, last December. Turrell received a $45,000 FUN (Facilities for Underdeveloped Neighborhoods) grant from Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to build the park.

Cooper said the city will have absorb the cost for the dirt, which will be about $3,000.

She had asked the county for help hauling dirt from the new hospital building site but decided to pay for it instead.

The park needs 650 cubic feet of dirt — or about 65 truck loads — in order to build up the ground so it doesn’t flood.

County Judge Woody Wheeless had offered to help haul some, but not all of the dirt. However, Wheeless said contractors at the hospital site were concerned about how they could get the county’s trucks in without disrupting the project.

Cooper said Crisp Construction, the contractor who is building the park, offered to work with the city on supplying the dirt. “I called him (Wheeless) and thanked him but said we are going to go another route,” Cooper said. “I had hoped to do this without costing the city any money. But, this is the city’s baby so we are just going to pay for the dirt. They (Crisp) are going to work with me on paying them back.”

Cooper said if the weather cooperates she is hoping the park could be ready as early as July 4.

“I’m hoping for July fourth,” Cooper said. “But every time it rains it sets us back. As long as the rain holds we will be fine. If the ground is okay they are out there working. It won’t take long once they get started. So I am hoping for July fourth. But if not, we can wait until the fall.”

Cooper said she is thrilled to see the park become a reality.

“This is a great thing — not just for the community — but for the county as well,” Cooper said. “Anybody can drive up and use this park and the basketball court and pavilion and children’s play area.”

By Mark Randall