Basin Spring Park gets some TLC

While the Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Department has been busy with various improvement projects in recent weeks, the city’s most popular and recognizable park continues to get the most attention.

“Basin Park continues to be the main focus of our efforts,” executive director Sam Dudley said at the parks commission regular meeting on March 19.

Most of the benches in the park have been removed so they can be refurbished while many other things have been improved, including new stairs that lead from Spring Street to the park and steps leading up to the bandshell.

“Seating is a little sparse in the park right now because [most] of the benches are gone,” Dudley told commissioners. “… Give us a couple of weeks and they’ll be done.

“What we do is we take them and get all the old wood off. … Then we give the hardware to a person who re-bends the metal and then we take them to a powder coating place over in Tontitown to get that finished before bringing them back. There’s a lot of players involved. It’s exciting to get them done, hopefully by April or mid-April.”

Another recent upgrade is the Basin Park Fire Bell, which was restored by the Abendschone Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“The Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter at Holiday Island paid for a professional painter to come and do it so it looks nice,” Dudley said.

A plaque at the bottom of the fire bell explains its history.

“In the late 19th century, the city of Eureka Springs suffered through [18] fires, including four conflagrations that devastated large portions of the town,” the fire bell plaque reads. “This fire bell played a significant role within the city’s emergency response system. Without it, the loss of life and property would have been far greater.”

A gazebo in Basin Spring Park has also been painted, Dudley said.

“Everything is looking really good at Basin,” he said. “It’s nice. Yeah, we’re plugging away.

“By summertime it will be almost a whole new park other than the fountain. We won’t talk about that. That’s the next big bone to chew off here.”

Other ongoing projects that have been completed or are in progress include the painting and reflooring of the building at Harmon Park next to the parks and recreation offices and Stacy’s Stone Work repairing portions of the underside of the Lake Leatherwood Dam walkway.

“We couldn’t really tell when we redid the handrails and they got into the nitty gritty of it, but underneath the big concrete piers there was a lot of deterioration going on,” Dudley said.

Other upcoming changes include outsourcing with a local service for laundry needs at Lake Leatherwood and switching to a more user-friendly reservation system for the cabins, campsites and rentals at the lake, Dudley told commissioners.

“When you sign up to rent a cabin it will automatically say things like, do you want a bundle of wood, or do you want a boat rental?” he said. “Or other things to up-sell. … I think it’ll make everyone’s life a lot better.”

In other commission action, discounts for veterans and parks staff at Lake Leatherwood were unanimously approved.

Veterans will now receive a 10 percent military discount for all rentals at the park while the commission approved a 50 percent discount on cabins, RV and electric sties for staff with a 14day limit.

Staff will also receive 25 percent off snacks at the park and get free boat rentals.

The commission also approved adding $5,000 to the Lake Leatherwood budget for the addition of Starlink Network for improved high speed wifi service.