An update on downtown Fort Smith and the possible repurposing of the Mayor Ray Baker Rose Garden are on the agenda for the upcoming board of directors study session.
64.6 Downtown’s Executive Director Talicia Richardson has been tasked with implementing downtown’s master plan, “Propelling Downtown Forward,” according to a memo sent from City Administrator Carl Geffken to Mayor Sandy Sanders.
The Propelling Downtown Forward plan has been integrated into the city’s “Future Fort Smith” plan, which emphasizes affordable housing, bikeable areas and the growth of entertainment, cultural, commercial and residential areas downtown. He said there needs to be a partnership between 64.6 Downtown and the city to achieve the goals they want to see in the area.
“64.6 Downtown has been and continues to be one of the architects of change and improvement to downtown Fort Smith,” Geffken wrote in the memo.
Richardson will update the board on the progress her organization has made and answer any questions the board has about the work she is doing.
Director of Parks and Recreation Doug Reinert said in a memo to Geffken the Fort Smith Rose Society and Parks Department entered into a contract two years ago that specified the society’s role in maintaining the Ray Baker Memorial Rose Garden, including the irrigation. His department agreed to maintain the areas outside of the garden and spray fungicides on the rose bushes on a schedule set forth by the society.
Reinert said the society voted to terminate the contract and moved the roses from the garden to the Learning Fields at Chaffee Crossing. The Parks Commission made a motion at its Aug. 8 meeting to submit a resolution to the board about repurposing the garden into a dog park, according to the memo. It was passed 3-2 after a suggestion was made to revitalize the garden instead of repurposing, as it would be less maintenance to put alternative flowers and plants in the area.
The memo states the department plans on asking its lead landscaper to develop a revitalization plan, if that is the direction the board would rather go.
Also on the agenda is the annual review of the board’s best practices document and the Oct. 2 regular meeting agenda.
The study session will be held at noon Tuesday in the Fort Smith Public Library Community Room.