FORT SMITH — Occasions, leisure and beer are slated to enrich amusement park options which have stood on the town riverfront for greater than a decade.
Members of McMar Group at an Aug. 12 public sale dedicated to pay $210,000 for The Park at West Finish in downtown Fort Smith. The park has been in operation since 2006 however skilled a decline as a consequence of unpredictable hours and covid-19, stated proprietor Phil White.
The brand new house owners plan to spend $100,000 to $150,000 to enhance the park in a manner that accommodates each nightlife and a family-friendly ambiance in the course of the day, stated McMar Group member Colby Martin.
Martin and McMar member Chris McCoy hope to have the park open by spring 2022, they stated.
“We do not wish to open till we all know what we wish,” Martin stated.
The park overlooks the Arkansas River from the west finish of Garrison Avenue. It options an Italian carousel, a rail automobile with a full-service restaurant inside and a Ferris wheel that may be seen as eastbound visitors from Oklahoma crosses the river into Fort Smith.
Your complete enterprise value greater than $800,000, in accordance with White.
The town of Fort Smith lately rented out the rides with a view to gather the income, White stated. It offered about 11,000 tickets yearly lately, he estimated.
“We did have a very good rebound plan in place for the diner and the rides, however covid put the brakes on every thing, and after I noticed it wasn’t going to work this 12 months, I received pissed off,” White stated.
McCoy stated he and his spouse knew they needed to buy the park as soon as they might afford it. He stated the park got here into their worth vary on Aug. 12, when it was auctioned off by way of Looper Public sale and Realty. McCoy stated McMar is ready to spend round $231,000 with the extra 10% of the auctioned worth given to White.
White stated he is happy with the sale and hopes the brand new house owners breathe new life into the park.
Shari Cooper, Fort Smith’s communication supervisor, stated metropolis employees had been “greater than excited” to listen to the property was offered. She additionally stated folks on the downtown farmers market reacted nicely when the Ferris wheel was turned on Saturday.
“That claims persons are 100% prepared for this downtown jewel with a lot character and chance to reopen,” Cooper stated in an announcement Wednesday.
McCoy stated McMar is contractually obligated to not promote the Ferris wheel or carousel for 10 years. He stated he plans to have the carousel refurbished and the Ferris wheel inspected earlier than opening them to the general public.
“We wish to function this in the course of the day, sure days, even having colleges come in the course of the day and having them experience the carousel, experience the Ferris wheel, take photos, possibly feed the youngsters,” McCoy stated.
Martin stated he and McCoy plan to additionally hold the restaurant contained in the rail automobile working seven days every week throughout regular restaurant hours. Will probably be accompanied by a beer backyard within the outside seating space between the rail automobile and carousel, he stated.
McCoy stated he desires the restaurant to be recognized for a “signature dish” it serves. The restaurant may also embrace an space for picture alternatives.
“We wish to say, ‘Hey, whenever you come to Fort Smith, cease by the park on Garrison and take your image, go inside and have the signature dish,'” he stated.
McCoy stated he has mentioned including a second degree for seating within the park. He additionally desires to accommodate stay music and group occasions.
Moreover, Martin stated he plans to improve the park’s feel and appear by including fixtures and paint.
McCoy stated a state consultant candidate has already reached out to him to carry a celebration. He stated he’ll enable marketing campaign occasions like this no matter a candidate’s political affiliation.
This inclusivity carries over to leisure as nicely, he stated.
“When you’ve got a band, I do not know if I like jazz, I do not know if I like nation, I do not know if I like something. However if you happen to’ve received cash and also you wish to lease my venue and also you wish to play a very good time, come on down,” he stated.
Cooper stated she and Conference & Guests Bureau employees will be certain that folks know in regards to the park as soon as it is open.
Martin stated he plans to promote the park to make sure guests will come. However he additionally hopes the beauty upgrades he makes to the park will market themselves.
“Whereas this can be a enterprise enterprise, it is fairly clear that they’re investing within the Fort Smith metro neighborhood,” Cooper stated in her assertion.
Artwork within the park
The Park at West Finish is beneath the backdrop of a mural of a Native American lady by muralist DFace. DFace painted the mural in 2016 as a part of The Sudden arts pageant.
Supply: The Sudden