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It’s time to play ball Mountain Home!
Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams and Mountain Home Parks and Recreation Department will be overseeing the grand re-opening of Clysta Willet Ballpark this evening at 5:30 p.m. on Ritter Field.
A total of three fields will be available for use tonight, with games for 8u, 10u, and 15u kicking off at 6 p.m. following the grand re-opening celebration. Poppy’s Polar Ice and the American Legion will be serving concession through the games.
Since taking office, Adams has heavily emphasized upgrading the city’s park system in hopes of providing a healthier lifestyle for both adults and children in Mountain Home.
At Hickory, Adams worked to install Mountain Home’s first-ever all-inclusive playground. That playground, which opened a few months ago, offers a fully ADA-compliant jungle gym, parking lot, and allows children with disabilities to play alongside their fellow friends.
The park’s baseball field will also be revamped to accommodate children with special needs. In future construction, a new terraced amphitheater-style seating arrangement will also be built on the hill below the playground facing the park’s Farmers and Merchants Bank stage. A new fence will be built around the park’s baseball field.
Altogether, the playground cost roughly $375,000 to complete, with a large portion of the costs being covered by state funding after Adams successfully pitched the upgrade to the Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism in 2021.
After opening the new playground, Adams shifted his focus to getting work done at Keller and Clysta Willet Park.
At Keller, Adams oversaw a complete overhaul of the park’s baseball fields with a focus on better water drainage and new seating for parents to enjoy while watching a game.
Work at Keller Park began in December of 2021. Street Department crews installed new culvert pipes around each ball field to alleviate drainage issues in the fields. Concrete was also poured throughout the outer perimeter of the fields, making it convenient for walking, and increasing accessibility for visitors with disabilities to the park.
Concrete pads were poured for the bleaches, dugout floors and batting cages. The park also received new sidewalks. Concrete curbs and guttering were also poured from the entrance of the park to the parking lot, which also received a fresh round of new asphalt. New awnings were also installed over the improved bleachers.
A high-tech camera system was installed to protect the park which will eventually allow the city to broadcast games to the public.
The project was completed Oct. 13 of last year. This project cost $417,465.05.
At Clysta Willett Park, city workers rearranged the park’s baseball fields to allow a more centralized concession stand and installed new astroturf.
This project began July 11 with the Street Department crew doing the same upgrades as the Keller Park project.
New drainage culvert was installed for proper ball field drainage, concrete pads were poured for the bleachers, the dugout floors were formed up and poured back with concrete, as were the batting cages. Sidewalks were poured to make this park handicap accessible also. The crew had been pulled off this project until the turf was installed. Crews returned in Dec. to install more drainage culverts and finish up concrete work.
While work at Keller and Clysta Willet parks has been completed, the city still has some outstanding projects at McCabe Park.
In 2015, the McCabe Family donated approximately 42 acres of vacant land at the west end of the 62/412 Bypass and Highway 62 West. The donation was designated for the specific use of a city park.
Since this generous donation was accepted by the City, the Street Department has installed new fencing for the proposed park, built and completed two entrance roads along with an access road to the three ponds that are on the property along with a parking lot.
New culvert pipe was placed along with curb and guttering, and sidewalks were installed along the roads. In 2020, a ½ mile walking trail was built and paved, in 2021, a 2,505-foot mountain bike trail was built in the wooded area south of the recreational trail.
Currently, the Street Department is waiting for approval from ARDOT to continue the walking trail/bike path to connect with the walking trail at ASU Mountain Home.
In October, brush and trees were cleared beginning at the back side of McCabe Park at the mountain bike trail. This new clearing and project will be the continuation of the walking trail/bike path which will go to the 62/412 Bypass and continue to connect with Arkansas State University’s trail. Fencing was put up to separate the pasture and a 5-bay box culvert has been built at the creek.
The Street Department is waiting for contact from ARDOT for a scheduled pre-construction meeting to continue this project.