By Jud Powell Staff Reporter Little River News
Story reprinted by permission of Little River News
Officials started the physical portion of a new 43-acre recreation park in Foreman on Wednesday morning, Oct. 9, with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by State Sen. Barbara Horn, D-Ark., Teton Industrial Construction Company Civil Superintendent Jeff Henry, former State Rep. Ken Cowling, D-Ark., and Foreman Recreation Park Commissioner Teresa Woods, as well as a number of other local community leaders.
Teton is one of several subcontractors that worked on the recent Ash Grove Cement plant expansion, and their donation is part of its community involvement initiative that seeks to give back to the communities in which they have been privileged to work.
“I have nothing but free time as far as this project is concerned,” Henry said.“I been with this project for over two months and the company has donated 5,100 concrete blocks for construction of restrooms, the concession stand and a multipurpose building at the park.”
Foreman officials have been very busy lately with several new projects. One of the most exciting is the recent announcement that the city has obtained funds to develop approximately 40 acres on North Malden Street for a city park. The new park project is the result of the efforts of several area individuals. Special recognition is due State Senator Barbara Horn and former State Representative Ken Cowling who both worked diligently to help secure more than $400,000 for the project. Total funds include a $220,000 grant from Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, a $48,300 grant from the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Program and a $150,000 grant from the State General Improvement fund.
The monies will be used to develop the land, which the city already owns, for use as the city’s outdoor recreation area. Along with beautiful landscaping and lots of trees, the new park will feature playground equipment, a picnic area and a baseball/softball field. The addition of a second ball field for city use is particularly exciting as it is one of the requirements for hosting the annual state softball tournament. Foreman’s own Lady Gators have won the state tournament five years in a row, and city residents are eager to now be able to bid to host the competition that they have dominated for so long.
Foreman residents will soon be able to enjoy a new, fully appointed community center thanks in part to a $250,000 grant provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also commonly known as the federal stimulus bill. The funds were approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program administered by the grants division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC).
The new community center will be located in the old city hall building which also once served as a car dealership before being purchased by the city. City Hall operations, which included a public computer lab, were forced to evacuate the building after flooding caused extensive damage. Although the city hall was relocated, the public computer lab could not be replaced, and the original structure remained in the city’s possession as officials hoped to one day renovate and redevelop it for public use. With the news of the block grant award, that hope will soon become a reality.
In addition to a large forum suitable for meetings and other public functions, the center will also house a brand-new computer lab to replace the previous one lost in the flood.
No definitive completion date has been given, but plans are now underway to start work on the project with construction set to begin in the near future.
Foreman volunteer fireman are excited about the department’s recent acquisition of a 2009 Chevrolet 3500 one Ton truck to replace its current search and rescue vehicle. The new truck provides the department with state of the art equipment to aid in emergency and rescue operations.
The truck is equipped with rear-mounted directional spotlights and floodlights, a heavy-duty front bumper system including a winch and a heavy-duty utility bed that will be used to house the department’s extrication system, popularly referred to as the ‘jaws of life’, as well as a full array of emergency rescue equipment.
Funds for the new truck were provided by a combination USDA Rural Development grant and loan. Of the $42,000 total, $23,000 is in the form of a grant with the remaining $19,000 specified as a loan that will be repaid to the program by the city.
Across our great country, different places are known for different things. Chicago is the ‘Windy City’. New York is the ‘Big Apple’. San Fransisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, and Memphis has the Blues. Even Vegas has all those lights and… er, well we won’t get into what all Vegas has.
But the point is, most every place, whether big or small, is known for something. And Foreman is no different. We’re about as natural as the ‘Natural State’ comes.
Foreman would like to formally thank country music star and Foreman native Tracy Lawrence as well as Tracy Byrd, Richie McDonald and Zona Jones for putting on a great Homecoming Concert this year at the Foreman High School Memorial Stadium.
Lawrence has held the concert for 15 years to benefit the Tracy Lawrence Foundation which aims to enhance educational opportunities for the children of Foreman and surrounding communities. Over it’s 15 year run, the event and the foundation have raised more than $1,000,000 for the cause.
The Lady Gators softball team has done it again & again & again & again! After playing in the state tournament at Rogers, AR, the girls took the familiar trip to Fayetteville for their fifth state finals in a row and came home with the championship trophy a record-breaking fourth year in a row! Numerous team & individual state records were broken. What a great accomplishment! Can you say “DYNASTY”?!?!?
If you haven’t already congratulated them on their record-breaking feat, be sure to let them know how proud you are of them the next time you see one of the girls around town. Congratulations girls! You’ve earned it!