Sunday was another gorgeous day to continue my scavenger hunt of Conway parks.
I visited Fifth Avenue Park, which is tucked behind Tipton Hurst and Roller-McNutt Funeral Home. The main entrance is at 600 5th Avenue. Its two pavilions have parking for cars and bicycles at the Vine Street entrances and there’s an entrance to the softball field off of 8th Avenue with a small bike rack, but no vehicle parking.
The placement and features of Fifth Avenue Park speak to a neighborhood park – which is great as there is a fair amount of housing within both walking- and cycling-distance. Experiencing the park, though, inspired a complex mix of both disappointment and hope.
On the positive side: The old growth trees that speckle the 10 acres are amazing. Open fields (currently covered in tiny spring flowers) allow all sorts of free play and most of the playground equipment looks to be in great shape and is free from graffiti. The three playground areas even have handicap accessible ramps thanks to a 2005 gift from the Junior Auxiliary of Conway.
Starting off the to-be-improved side: The handicap accessible swing that the Junior Auxiliary funded is missing. I’m happy to report that I reached out to them and they seem open to readdressing their investment in the park.
A fair amount of investment is needed to address the state of the volleyball "net", tennis courts, softball field, and restrooms. As a water source, the park has a water pump between the pavilions, but there’s no indication that there was ever a water fountain – a little surprising given all the high-level activities the park was built to support.
Aged signage near the main entrance indicates that, at one point, Fifth Avenue Park received some significant funding from the National Park Service and Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism in addition to City funding and the gifts from the Junior Auxilary. Given this past, I very much hope that someone from the City or a community group looks for funding opportunities to address the areas that need to be improved.