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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Community open house slated for May 5 to discuss proposed trail development project

A community open house is scheduled in Mena from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 5. The open house, hosted by Arkansas State Parks, the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation, and the City of Mena, will be held at the Historic DeQueen Street Armory at 601 DeQueen Street in Mena.

The purpose of the meeting is to present initial concepts for a trail-focused recreation development project spanning Arkansas State Parks, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and City of Mena managed lands.

A brief welcome and overview will take place at 6 p.m., followed by time for open discussion, questions and public input. Handouts and maps of the project area will be made available, and the overall process to plan and consider future trail development will be explained.

The project is in the concept phase, and the following vision statement has been developed to guide the project: To create a unique and inspiring visitor experience with a focus on gravity-fed and backcountry trails that allows for the realization of a higher potential for outdoor recreation, economic vitality, and quality of life by capitalizing on the terrain and relationships between local, state, and federal partners.”

As a part of this project, connections to the City of Mena that support recreational access and economic development will also be explored. The public is invited to further explore this vision, identify community connections and provide their thoughts on this opportunity.

Due to portions of the project being located on federally managed lands, there would be a forthcoming environmental review under the direction of the USDA Forest Service prior to implementation. The current trail study is being funded through a grant to the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation from the Walton Family Foundation.

Representatives of each of the host organizations will be available following the welcome and overview to answer questions about the project, provide media interviews and explain how interested individuals and organizations can participate in this process. Interview availability for media will take place at 6:30 p.m.

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