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Fayetteville Considers Preservation of Mount Kessler

The city of Fayetteville may expand its regional park to include a system of trails dating back to the 1800's.
Fayetteville, AR - The city of Fayetteville may expand its regional park to include a system of trails dating back to the 1800's.

Leaders want to preserve Mount Kessler's natural beauty, and they've found a way to pay for it.

Fayetteville's Regional Park will be built on 200 acres just to the South, but Mayor Lioneld Jordan wants to extend the park to the mountaintop.

"It's like it was hundreds of years ago," he says. "It's been untouched.... We'll be able to do baseball, softball, soccer, have picnics for the people that enjoy that, we're going to be able to take mountain bikes and hiking and birdwatching in the other area of the park."

The Walton Family Foundation is offering half of the $3 million price tag, and several other groups have kicked in cash to help the city pay the rest.

"We've all worked together," Jordan says. "it's really important, because we're doing this not only for ourselves but for the future generations of citizens coming along."

Frank Sharp lives at the foot of the mountain.

"My parents moved there in 1943," he says. "I grew up hiking and riding horseback all over, hunting."
Sharp never expected to see Mount Kessler developed in his lifetime.

"Then a group called Southpass came along to put about 4000 housing units on the mountain," he says.

The deal fell through, but for nearly a decade, Sharp has been working to preserve the area.

"Those trails on the mountains are built by Phillip Kessler, in 1866," Sharp says.

The city council will consider the plan later this month.
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