The city of Alma was recently approved for an Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism matching grant to turn a 45-acre tract of land donated by three local families into a city park.
The Outdoor Recreation Grants Program Advisory Committee has recommended the city be awarded $220,000 in matching funds when the money from the state is available early next year.
Over the next several years, land donated by the Blasingame, McClurkin and Christello families near the intersection of Arkansas 162 and U.S. 64-B is expected to become Christello Family Park with a playground, pavilion and walkways.
A dog park is also planned for five acres of the group’s donated property that sits across the highway from the 45-acre tract.
“This is going to affect the people of Alma for the next 150 years,” Alma Mayor Keith Greene said of the park. “We are in the middle of Crawford County so people from all over the county will use it. We appreciate what the families have done for the city. ”
Greene noted in a Nov. 30 letter to Mardel McClurkin and Rosemary Blasingame that the Blasingame, McClurkin and Christello families “have been an example of what makes Alma a special city and great place to call home.”
A Nov. 26 letter from Parks and Tourism Executive Director Kane Webb to Greene states the Alma park project is prioritized along with eight other projects that remain to be funded.
Funding of the Alma park project from the state parks department will depend on state real estate transfer tax collections, Webb noted. The matching grant money can be used to develop a playground, walkways, parking, pavilion, site furnishings and utilities for the new park.