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Pine Bluff community unites to revamp local park



Pine Bluff, Arkansas – In Pine Bluff, what was once a dilapidated park, long forgotten and overrun, is now witnessing a heartwarming transformation. On a bright Monday morning, the spirit of community shone through as residents from the city, and even from a neighboring state, arrived, ready to breathe new life into an old recreational space.

Ken Gray, a pastor who grew up just a stone’s throw away from the park, recalls how it once brimmed with life. “My son played baseball here, and we attended games,” he nostalgically mentioned. For Gray and many others like local Ryan Watley, the park was not just a playground, but a reservoir of cherished memories. Watley’s voice echoed the sentiments of many when he said, “I remember pitching on this field… It’s sad seeing how it declined over time.”

However, the winds of change began to blow when Councilwoman Lanette Frazier of Ward 3 in Pine Bluff pondered over the best utilization of her $25,000 discretionary funds. An additional $15,000 was generously chipped in by a fellow councilmember, bringing the total to a promising $40,000. Frazier’s inspiration struck when she laid eyes on the once-vibrant park. Instead of merely using the funds, she rallied the community to contribute through voluntary labor, thereby maximizing the use of the collected funds for materials and other improvements.

The plan is elaborate. With the funds in hand, the team aims to renovate roofing, paint the structures afresh, install new bleachers, and much more. The revamped park promises to be a multi-activity zone, offering facilities for baseball, football, basketball, and even a dedicated play area for children.

Gray’s anticipation for the park’s future is palpable. He envisions the next generation making memories just like his own children did. “This is a great memory, and I hope we can sustain it, forever,” he expressed.

As the community joins hands to revitalize a significant part of their collective childhood, Councilwoman Frazier sums up the feeling of gratitude and hope, “It’s a work in progress, but I’m thankful for everyone involved in making this dream a reality.”

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