Green Forest, Ark., city leaders debate whether to add bathrooms or splash pad to park

The Green Forest City Council has disagreed over the priority of building new facilities at its town park.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 5:03 PM CDT
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GREEN FOREST, Ark. (KY3) - The Green Forest City Council has disagreed over the priority of building new facilities at its town park.

There are currently no restrooms inside the city’s soccer complex. With plans to build a facility, the council received a proposal to build a splash pad. The soccer complex has been in place for the last ten years, yet no public restrooms are located within the facility. That despite receiving a $50,000 grant from Tyson Foods in 2018 to build bathrooms and a concessions stand.

“Then, of course, COVID hit, and the price of materials has skyrocketed. It is just one thing after another,” said Mayor Jerry Carlton. “Every time we’ve tried to take a step forward, it seems like we take two steps back.”

Carlton says the project is in the process of undergoing bids on the building after complications with pricing.

Neighbors of the soccer complex say children will urinate in less appropriate places without convenient restrooms.

“I’ve had complaints from my neighbor, out barbecuing with his kids and people urinating on the fence,” said Carroll Smith. “My neighbor next door and I and my wife and kids have seen it.”

Smith says the nearest restrooms to the complex are over 200 yards away at the nearby playground.

The city had a proposal at its last city council meeting to approve the construction of a $180,00 splash pad, which would be comparable in the price of the concessions/restroom facility.

The city council approved the proposal via a 3-1 vote, only to be vetoed by the mayor.

“We have bigger fish to fry than a splash park at the moment,” said Mayor Carlton. “I’ve had some negative feedback from the public about building a splash pad before bathrooms.”

His feelings are shared with council member Smith.

“With them wanting to build a splash pad for $180,000, and we still don’t have no place for the kids to use the restroom,” said Smith. “It’s going to be running on top of the ground, down into the ditch, and they’ll be urinating in that too. We need a place for kids to use the restroom, and it be sanitary.”

Carlton and Smith say they are not opposed to the splash pad proposal but feel other necessities should take priority.

Following the veto, the city council will revisit the issue at its next meeting on November 14.

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