Members of the Van Buren Parks and Recreation Commission were told this week that the city is rebidding the renovation of Veterans Memorial Plaza in downtown.
City Planner Joe Hurst told commission members that Mayor Bob Freeman had announced the rebidding process at the September city council meeting.
Freeman said a citizen challenged the city’s decision to approve a change order to complete the Veterans Park project and enter into a contract with Crawford Construction at a cost not to exceed $667,700 for the phase II of the park.
Veterans Memorial Plaza is the city’s original Veterans Park and is located across Main Street from Freedom Park, which was dedicated and opened to the public on June 30.
“We felt like we could complete the park with the change order,” Freeman said. “But, we wanted to avoid a conflict and move on.”
The new park in the 800 block of Main Street will include a flag plaza honoring all branches of the military as well as a flag and seal for first-responders, according to City Planner Joe Hurst.
“All the military seals will be featured in a monument along both sides of one of two water features,” Hurst said. “A bridge will connect the flags to a star-shaped water feature.”
A Battle Cross monument donated to the city by Chase Haynes, an Eagle Scout with Troop 45 in Van Buren, will be in the center of the Memorial Plaza water feature. Haynes’s statue, cast of pure American bronze, of a helmet, identification tags, inverted rifle and combat boots is meant to represent a fallen soldier.
Freedom Park, adjacent to the train depot, serves as an entertainment and recreational venue. The park consists of two pavilions, utilized by the local Farmers Market and other groups and activities, an open green-space area with a stage, an interactive fountain feature, and benches and picnic tables.
At Monday’s meeting, commission members also discussed installing bicycle racks at Freedom Park. Hurst said the city had been contacted about the possibility of the bike racks.
Hurst also said members of Ozark Regional Offroad Cyclists are nearing completion of plans for a trail plan for Chad Colley Park on the city’s north side.
“They have a really nice plan,” Hurst said. “We will need to schedule a community meeting to talk about concerns and thoughts on developing a preliminary budget.”