FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A community effort to save a Fayetteville park resulted in a victory when the city purchased the property last Thursday.
Like a lot of movements in the 21st century, Will Dockery’s fight to save Lewis Park began with a Facebook page.
“I started it back in November of 2017, I guess, and it was one of those things where I wanted to just make sure I wasn’t crazy,” Dockery said.
Dockery has made tons of memories playing ultimate Frisbee at the park.
“While Mount Kessler has six soccer fields, we still need the amount of soccer fields we have out [at Lewis],” Dockery said.
Dockery and others worried the park would disappear when the city’s 25-year lease ran out.
“Fayetteville Disc got involved, the Arkansas Rugby Club got involved, the local pickup soccer players got involved,” Dockery said.
The group that supported saving Lewis Park grew until it was a mini-movement, complete with #SaveLewis signs and buttons. Last Thursday, Mayor Lioneld Jordan signed the papers to make it official: the city joined the Fayetteville School District and bought the property from the University of Arkansas.
“The public has just loved the green space in the middle of the city,” said Connie Edmonston, Fayetteville’s Parks & Rec. director. “We went together and purchased the property last Thursday, and we’re looking forward to great things.”
The city’s portion of the property was purchased for $1.75 million. Fayetteville’s part was bought for around the same price, Edmonston said.
Dockery said he started to feel the momentum building during city council meetings.
“I knew it was coming up, but I may have still done a ‘yippee jump’ because this has been a long time coming,” Dockery said.
Dockery said he now knows the power of getting involved in community.
“I’d say showing up is super important,” Dockery said. “Finding other people who believe what you believe is super important.”