Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Nature Center At Lake Atalanta?

Maybe so. Director Rick Stocker and the Rogers Parks and Recreation Commission Long-Range Planning Committee heard a presentation yesterday regarding possible renovation projects at Lake Atalanta and a city partnership for a regional Game & Fish office and nature center at the lake. Game & Fish Commission officials are excited about the idea of a combined nature center that could include hands-on exhibits, meeting rooms, a conference center, a boardwalk, an aquarium, and an observation deck at the lake because of its close proximity to such a highly populated area, said architect John Mack and landscape architect Dwight Heasley.

Other ideas for Lake Atalanta include trails, an amphitheater, butterfly gardens and a stone mill similar to one in North Little Rock. Heasley said that the objectives for renovation at Lake Atalanta include creating a family friendly atmosphere that is pedestrian friendly, maintains the natural environment, is a destination place for people within a two-hour radius of the city and promotes downtown.

We commend all involved with the exciting possibilities for Lake Atalanta and hope that their plans can be developed and executed for the benefit of downtown Rogers as well as the school children of Northwest Arkansas. Smart thinking and bold action.

Different cities have different visions. Fayetteville once had an opportunity for an Audubon Nature Center at Wilson Spring, but Mayor Dan Coody instead sold the choice property to a developer. The Fayetteville Parks and Recreation director Connie Edmonston wants to build a regional sports park outside the city limits, like the one in Springdale. Rogers Mayor Steve Womack stepped up to save the Victory Theatre as a performing arts venue, while the UARK Theater in Fayetteville has the best poster shop on Dickson Street.

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