The city of Conway – armed with data, grants, a street improvement sales-and-use tax, cooperative weather and a team committed to maintaining and improving infrastructure – has been busy working on streets, parks, affordable housing developments and more.

The city’s first splash pad at Laurel Park is on track to be open in July after RJR Enterprises finished the water manifold on the splash pad on Friday. Crews worked through the Memorial Day holiday weekend and plans to have the project complete by July 4, weather permitting.

“I think it’s going to be a tremendous success,” Mayor Bart Castleberry said, noting that city officials hope to build more splash pads in the future before taking an aquatic center “to a vote of the people in 2021.”

The 5,500-square-foot splash pad will feature a toddler bay, family bay and activity bay and will be free to the public. The $330,000 project, which includes expanded parking and a pavilion that will have water, electrical and sewer amenities, is funded through a 50/50 matching grant from the state’s parks and tourism department. The city’s half will be paid for from the Conway Advertising and Promotion (A&P) fund.

Other park projects underway include construction of new restroom facilities at Beaverfork Lake Park and Fifth Avenue Park, which both started last week.

On May 23, Castleberry and other officials broke ground on an affordable housing project on the corner of Siebenmorgen Road and Factory Street. The housing development, which will mostly target income-qualifying families, will have 44 housing units with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Street and Engineering Director Finley Vinson previously worked with AssetMax, a pavement management company that used data to assign a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) to every city street, to make a long-term plan to make the best use of the city’s street funds.

AssetMax Director Keith Tencleve explained that the most efficient way to improve a street depends on its condition.

While overlaying a street with a PCI of 65 or higher adds about 15 years of life to the street, he said, overlaying a street with a lower score only adds about three years of life to it.

“In the big picture, if you use 68-70 percent of a pavement’s life, it’s going to cost the city about $1.50 per square foot to overlay, which is the right treatment about that time,” he said. “But, if you use 100 percent of the useful life of the pavement, it’s going to cost you $5.50 [per square foot] because that’s going to need a reconstruction.”

In order to maximize the city’s street funds, Vinson recommended overlaying the streets with a PCI of 65 or higher first so that none of them deteriorate to the point of needing reconstruction. Once those streets are complete, crews will start reconstructing the streets with lower scores.

The city has put the plan to action, with crews working on streets across Conway. Most recently, crews paved the intersection of Bruce and Harkrider streets.

“The eastern leg of the Bruce and Harkrider intersection is being paved today,” officials said on Friday. “If everything goes according to plan, then we hope to re-open the intersection next week.”

The curbs and gutters for the new Bruce Street are complete and paving should start in the next couple of weeks. Vinson said he expects the section that connects to the old airport will be complete before the end of the year.

Visit cityofconway.org/media/attachments/main_bid/117/2018-09_Street-Paving-Bid-Summary.pdf to view a summary of the 2018 asphalt milling and paving bids. For daily updates on infrastructure improvements, visit the city’s Facebook page.