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The original item was published from 6/11/2019 11:39:45 AM to 6/15/2019 12:00:00 AM.

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City of Hot Springs News Releases

Posted on: June 11, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Grand opening for Rev. Rice Park Thursday at 11 a.m.

Reverend Rice Park

The Grand Opening for the Reverend James Donald Rice Pocket Park will be Thursday at 11 a.m.

The public is encouraged to attend, and there will be light refreshments following the ceremony.

The park is located at 511 Pleasant Street behind the Hot Springs Central Police Station on a .41-acre lot. It includes a full-size basketball court, swing set, picnic table and benches, water foundation and landscaping. Primary funding for the park was provided to the Gateway Community Association (GCA) courtesy of Community Development Block Grant funds at a total of around $90,000. The Parks and Trails Department provided much of the labor, and purchased the basketball goals and contributed funds for the lot preparation and court construction.

According to the GCA, this park not only supports revitalization occurring on Church, Gulph and Gardens streets, but will also be a means of bringing the community together with specific opportunities for neighborhood youth and adults to play basketball with involvement from the Police Department and City Sports and Recreation Department.

The GCA sought input on the pocket park project prior to seeking funding by completed a public outreach campaign, reaching out to area organizations and more than 100 individuals. The project began in 2014, and the lot for the park was purchased in 2016.

The park’s namesake – Reverend James Donald Rice – was a community leader and civil rights activist who played a critical role in the integration of the Hot Springs School District. He moved to Hot Springs in 1962 and lived in the heart of the Gateway Community. He was senior pastor of Roanoke Baptist Church on Whittington Avenue and had been president of Western Baptist College and first vice president of the Missouri Branch of the NAACP in Kansas City, Missouri.

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