Thanks to a state grant, Hackett City Park will soon get a proper restroom facility.
Gov. Mike Beebe and Arkansas Department of Rural Services Director John Andrews on May 1 presented $166,000 to 16 rural communities selected for funding through the Arkansas Rural Community Grant program. The city of Hackett received $13,461 to build a restroom at Hackett City Park, according to a rural services news release.
Hackett Mayor Darrell Newton and street superintendent Charles Fortson traveled to the state Capitol to receive the award. Newton said the grant money will go toward something that the city’s park has needed for a long time.
"We’ve used (portable toilets) ever since we built the park. There are so many people when we have things down in the park, like Old Timers Day or something like that, that the restroom facilities weren’t very good," Newton said. "We just wanted to get restrooms in the park so when we do have something and have big crowds, we’ll be ready to go."
Newton said the grant likely won’t cover the entire cost of the project.
"In that area, we don’t have the sewer lines in yet," he said. "We’ve got to lay the sewer lines and get the foundation and everything and then go from there."
Although a final cost for the overall project is unclear, Newton said he hopes the new facility will be up and running soon.
"It’s going to be a good project," he said. "There will be a lot of happy people once we get these in, because nobody really cared for those Handy Cans — but with everything like it was, we didn’t have any other choice except to use them until we got the money to build (restrooms)."
The Department of Rural Services works with the Arkansas Rural Development Commission to administer the Arkansas Rural Community Grant in three cycles each year. Incorporated cities and towns and unincorporated communities in rural areas of fewer than 3,000 people are eligible to apply for assistance through the mayor or county judge’s office, according to the release.