An update to the master plan for development of Gulley Park was approved by the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board at the September 10, 2018 meeting. This is the culmination of planning efforts which have been underway since the park’s expansion in 2014.
The intent of this plan is to designate primary use areas throughout the park to maximize opportunities for desired user activities, while minimizing detrimental impacts to the park. Although new areas of activity are have been proposed, it was also important to preserve the open space of the park, as well as provide isolated areas of quiet and solitude.
What is this project?
In late 2014, the City of Fayetteville expanded Gulley Park with the acquisition of a ten-acre parcel on the park's north side. This expansion prompted an update to the overall development plan for the Park, resulting in the adopted layout below. Specific development ideas resulting from discussions at a 2016 public meeting, as well as written and emailed comments, were evaluated and many were incorporated into the master plan.
The acquisition also included two adjacent houses; however, these were put on the market and publicly sold through a bidding process. The larger of the two homes was purchased by Apple Seeds, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit committed to the inspiration of healthy living through garden-based education. As a stipulation of the offer, Apple Seeds requested a twenty-year lease of an adjacent two acres for the establishment of an interpretive teaching farm. It was determined that this mission of Apple Seeds coincided with ideas favored by the City of Fayetteville and the Parks and Recreation Department to establish public gardens and orchards, provide education and interpretation of fresh food sourcing, and increase public knowledge on farm-to-table food processing, so the City agreed to the sale and two-acre lease.
What is the current status?
Trail Improvements at Gulley Park
The Niokaska Creek Trail, a trail planned to connect Gulley Park with Sweetbriar Park, the Mud Creek Trail, and the Razorback Greenway to the north and to new cycle and pedestrian lanes on Old Wire Road to the south, is under construction. Once complete, this will provide a 12-foot wide concrete trail connection between these critical points.
As part of this construction, the previous asphalt loop trail at Gulley Park has also been replaced. The loop trail, originally constructed in 1992, is about 0.85 miles around the perimeter of the park. The new loop is an 8-foot wide concrete path that also features two new bridges across Niokaska Creek. The trail work through the park is essentially compete; however, the new lanes along Old Wire Road are still under construction with the final connection to be completed in early summer of 2019. Fayetteville trail crews have now moved the focus of their construction to completing the final connection between Gulley and Sweetbriar Parks.
For a look at the graphic route of the Niokaska Creek Trail, please see the map below.
Activity Hub and Playground
The playground and activity hub, as featured in the illustrations below, will begin construction in the fall of 2019.