Downtown park preserves family's history

Downtown park preserves family's history
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A new park is being built in Downtown Batesville to preserve the history of a family and provide a place for families to enjoy.

Ann Strahl of Batesville is the woman who made the project possible.

Her maiden name was Maxfield. The Maxfield family settled in Batesville in the early 1800s and owned several buildings in the area that are now downtown.

"She owned this particular half-acre piece of ground," Main Street Batesville Vice President Danny Dozier said. "And she was getting up in her years, her health was starting to fail and she was the end of the line. Her children had deceased. Her husband was deceased and she wanted to give this piece of property to the city."

So Main Street Batesville said they would be over the project and make sure the park got built.

Strahl spent the last year of her life meeting with Dozier to plan what it would look like.

Dozier then helped organize fundraisers and asked community members for help funding the project.

"I just reached out to the public, the community, getting support wherever I could," Dozier said. "Whether it was in-kind support supplying materials or whether it was in-kind support with labor or whether somebody was going to actually make a cash donation."

The second phase of the project is expected to begin within the next couple of weeks.

Workers are preparing the old building slab to add playground equipment and a bathroom.

Some of the old stone is in danger of falling, so Dozier said they will build a retaining wall to make sure it is safe for children.

The second phase is being paid for through a grant from the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Commission.

The third phase will then be to install the playground equipment.

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