FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The 2020 Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association (APRA) honored the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department with five awards at the Annual Conference in Hot Springs earlier this week.
The department won awards for Sports Management Program of the Year for the new Esports program, Natural Surface Trail of the Year for down-hill trails constructed in Gregory Park, Paved Surface Trail of the Year for the Niokaska Trail extension, Natural Resources Program of the Year for the installation of recycling and cleanup stations along the Razorback Greenway and Festival of the Year for the City’s annual Celebration of Trees.
“I want to congratulate our amazing Parks and Recreation team on receiving these honors,” said Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan. “This hardworking team works year-round to provide wonderful experiences for our residents, whether it be through beautiful parks, well-tended trails, or programs and events. I am especially impressed by the dedication and creativity they have shown during the COVID pandemic as they have found innovative ways to continue to offer excellent programming and recreation options for our community while observing best practices in health and safety.”
The Esports program was established in 2020 and gave the Northwest Arkansas community an outlet to play, compete and socialize from the comfort of their own homes.
In its inaugural season, over 200 people participated in the Esports program. Ranging from ages six to 56, competitors across the state played games like Fortnite, Mario Kart and Rocket League in weekly matches.
Through several partnerships, new mountain biking trails were constructed in Fayetteville's Gregory Park. This led to the department receiving the Natural Surface Trail of the Year award.
The Urban Forestry department’s annual Celebration of Trees Arbor Day event, now in its 23rd year, was awarded the Festival of the Year award for its innovative approach to changed circumstances in 2020.
The City received a Natural Resources Program of the Year award for five community litter stations created along the Razorback Regional Greenway in May of 2020. These self-service stations provide bags and trash receptacles to encourage visitors to help combat litter as they use the trails.
The Niokaska Creek Trail connector was selected for the Paved Trail of the Year award because of its reach and impact into previously unserved areas of the City. This three-mile section of trail provides active transportation and recreation opportunities for over 4,000 residents who live within 1/4 mile of the trail. The improvements include energy-efficient LED lighting, a tunnel under a busy road, and a 100-foot-long bridge overlooking a small waterfall constructed from native stone. The new Niokaska Creek Trail services a new section of the city and stands as an exemplary example of trails linking people and places to create a better place to live.
Click here for more information on the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department.