The initiative to create a public space for outdoor education and recreation across from the Yvonne Richardson Community Center was supported by recent Clinton School graduate Caroline Dunlap (Brookline, Mass.), who provided assistance in pursuing funding for the development of the park.
This work was done as part of Dunlap’s graduate coursework and consisted of researching and pursuing sources of funding that aligned with the park’s cultural, social, and environmental significance.
“This project presents a fantastic opportunity to create equitable access to outdoor recreation and environmental education that is lacking in the neighborhood,” said Dunlap.
The plan to make Buddy Hayes Park an accessible city park via the removal of invasive species and litter and the addition of walkways, stream access, and outdoor seating was initiated by residents and community advocates who noted the lack of access to public green space in South Fayetteville.
To support the development of the park in the short and long term, Dunlap researched grant opportunities and contacted funders to introduce the park project and convey its significance. By providing a baseline of knowledge about available grants and making contact with program officers, Dunlap sought to help the community partners take advantage of funding opportunities that align with the goals of the park project.
Moving forward, neighborhood leaders will take a community-based approach to the development of Buddy Hayes Park, in order for the project to effectively serve the needs of the community.
Buddy Hayes Park, named for notable resident and musician Buddy Hayes, is located in a historically African-American neighborhood and is bisected by the Sprout Spring Branch creek, a tributary of the Town Branch, which flows into Beaver Lake, the primary source of drinking water for 420,000 Arkansans.
About the City of Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department
The mission of the City of Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department is to meet the outdoor recreation needs of all residents by providing a safe and diversified park system that encourages community pride, visionary planning and operations, and environmental stewardship.