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Livening up the park

Riverfront Park in downtown Little Rock has undergone many changes in recent months — including the installation of a bust of Count Pulaski — and now the work is entering a new phase. People who frequent the area have noticed that a good-sized section of the park is surrounded by a chain-link fence, to keep the public out. Heavy equipment is at work inside the fence. What gives?

Truman Tolefree, director of the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department, said “We’re in the process of revising the playground area, which includes the fountain. The current playground has been in place since the early 1980s. We want to make it more exciting.” The excitement will include more things for kids to climb on. The work will be completed by the end of the year, Tolefree said.



The greening of the South

UALR Law School student L. Edward Moore has won a $20,000 fellowship from the Center for a Better South to develop progressive environmental policy ideas for Southern states and local government. He is to produce a book of ideas by next spring that will include tips individuals can follow to conserve energy and be more environmentally friendly every day. (Our tips: allowing chicken waste to be washed into scenic rivers or gravel mining of same are not friendly.)

Moore, 40, is a native of Spartanburg, S.C. A Yale graduate with a master’s in history, he has worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Ernest F. Hollings and, more recently, in California with the Planning and Conservation League Foundation. In that last job, he worked on water use and statewide initiatives to fund land preservation and public transportation. He also worked on a state effort to encourage solar and other energy incentives.

The Center for a Better South is a think tank devoted to progressive policy. More at www.bettersouth.org or www.thinksouth.org.



No baseball memorabilia – yet

Don’t expect a fire sale on Ray Winder Field fixtures just yet, even though the Arkansas Travelers have played their last game there. Though the Travelers will have a new home in North Little Rock, the status of the old park remains under study by the city.

If Travs General Manager Bill Valentine had a say, he said he’d raze the grandstand, with its expensive upkeep, and leave the box seats and hillside picnic area, still enough to seat 3,000 for youth baseball, concerts, etc.

While the state and city own the land for Ray Winder, the Travelers own the seats, lighting and other fixtures. Some of the newer aluminum seats will move to the new Dickey-Stephens Park. And the speaker system will be removed, too, Valentine said. But there are no immediate plans to sell other fixtures, such as older seats, to souvenir hunters.

If the city decides the whole place will be razed and fixtures can be sold, we wondered what would become of the fabled “troughs” in the men’s bathroom — the super-sized urinals designed to accommodate a horde of beer-drinkers. Valentine, as ever, had an idea. “Well, we’ll put them on auction on the Arkansas Times blog. It seems like they’re talked about there more than anyplace else. We’ll advertise it on the blog, ‘Two long urinal troughs filled with Pabst Blue Ribbon.’ ”




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