Parks director says department is doing better than ever
The Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission accomplished
a lot in 2017, and parks director Justin Huss said he
intends to keep that momentum in 2018.
Huss delivered the state of parks on Tuesday, Jan. 30, describing
everything the commission got done last year. There
was progress at Harmon Park, Huss said, with more of the
stonework revealed throughout the park and the tree limbs
trimmed to make the park more inviting. Some honeysuckle
bushes were removed from the park, Huss said, and that should
keep happening this year.
“We’re also working to reclaim and expand on Cardinal
Spring Trail with the main quarter being cleaned last year. We
hope to tie that into our spring garden trail,” Huss said,
Other upcoming improvements at Harmon Park, he said, include
new lighting, better wifi, more security and a new water
feature. The water feature is made possible through Montana
Widener’s memorial fund, Huss said.
“We felt that was the appropriate thing to do,” Huss said.
The commission is applying for support from May Festival
of the Arts to work on the bathroom facade and install a mural
at Harmon Park, Huss said.
“We want to encourage local artists to do some outdoor installations
and just overall give Harmon some polish and some
identity,” he said. “We’re anxious to hear about that. We’ve already
done some preliminary assessments of the building and
its mural potential.”
Basin Spring Park had a busy year in 2017, Huss said, with
the bandshell being cleaned and illuminated. He said the stone
basin at the bottom of the well was cleaned, too.
“That’s one of the things I didn’t know was down there for
the first year I was here,” Huss said. “To actually get down there
and get hands-on … that’s one of the little moments being in
parks that was really neat. You can see where it’s been collecting
The Doughboy Statue was repaired thanks to grants from
the Historic District Commission, Huss said, and a smoking
ordinance was passed for Basin Park and other park properties
in town. He said the commission will be working this year to
repair the bandshell steps, restore the base of the Doughboy
Statue and scrape, patch and paint the bandshell. Getting the
bandshell cleaned up, Huss said, is a sign of collaboration between
“Andy Green has done a wonderful job bringing acts down
to Basin Park,” Huss said. “I look forward to another season
with Andy. I think he’s stepping it up even further. We just want
to give a shout out to our partners, because we work with theCAPC to manage that.”
The garden parks have continued to shine under the
care of city gardener Tom Beckendorf, Huss said. He said
Beckendorf installed new walkways, improved irrigation
systems, repaired walls and removed invasive species at
“Our springs are a primary asset to our town, and their
caretaker is as well,” Huss said.
Everyone at parks has done an excellent job for the city,
Huss said, and that team will grow in 2018 with some new
positions being added to the department.
“Our entire staff has excelled this year and is the foundation
for our continued success,” Huss said. “We’ve implemented
many new policies. Our staff has proven to be
up for the challenges.”
The Carroll County Riders served the community well in
2017, Huss said, helping with the trails at Black Bass Lake
and receiving recognition for 20 years of work at the Ozark
Off Road Cyclists’ celebration.
“Recent projects are a direct result of their work over
two decades,” Huss said.
That work includes the new downhill mountain biking
trails at Lake Leatherwood City Park, Huss said. He
thanked the citizens for voting to renew Leatherwood’s
0.125 percent tax.
“The approval of the Leatherwood tax provided us with
new revenue sources that allow the park to function better
and in the black,” Huss said. “This tax, without a doubt, is
the greatest accomplishment of the past year and for the
future of parks, hands down.”
He described everything that happened at Lake Leatherwood
in 2017, saying a new playground was installed, the
cabins received exterior repairs and the fleet of rental boats
expanded once again.
“All combined, these Leatherwood improvements have
resulted in increased park usage, increased revenue and
new partnerships,” Huss said. “Our 2017 revenue is up 75
percent from 2015, and this is without most of our new
facilities coming online until May of last year.”
In 2018, he said, Lake Leatherwood will see upgrades
to its campsites, glade restoration, the removal of invasive
species and renovations on the bathhouse. This is all because
of the 0.125 percent tax, Huss said.
“It allows for long-term planning and a realistic method
to approach large issues such as repairs to our sewer system,
lake and dam,” Huss said. “With increases in revenue,
our parks system is making great strides toward a more
efficient and meaningful management of our resources.”
He continued, “We will be able to hire professional staff
to manage our resources and continue to build our ability
and effectiveness. Our parks system is on a steady march
toward a higher and more professional system that will
provide continued additional benefits for our citizens and