A fundraiser to aid in the building of an Arkadelphia city park will take place Saturday, Nov. 18.
Event organizers are hoping to hold the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park Rally at the site of the proposed park, located at the northeast corner of 15th and Pine streets.
The rally will be held from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the fundraiser will be moved indoors at the Community Family Enrichment Center, 301 N. 23rd St., Arkadelphia.
City leaders announced plans in 2021 to erect a $2.5 million park, but fundraising efforts would soon fall short. The top donor, to date, has been Ouachita Baptist University, which pledged $50,000 when news of the park was unveiled. With an estimated $400,000 in funding now available for the park, City Manager Gary Brinkley vowed during the 2023 city board retreat to build the park. Its initial phase would include a children’s area, basketball court and parking. City officials plan to break ground on the park in late 2024.
Saturday’s rally is being hosted by Taking Back Our Streets Community Outreach, a Gurdon-based nonprofit in operation for two years but officially organized in October.
Corey Turner, the organization’s founder, said the MLK Memorial Park is “due for the community. It’s not on the forefront like it should be.”
Saturday’s fundraiser will include vendors, speakers, raffles and other entertainment.
Turner said that, in addition to raising awareness and funds for the Arkadelphia park, the organization has made its mission to build an enrichment center in Gurdon to help create a food pantry, as well as equality in housing and job opportunities.