City of Conway to host Markham Square groundbreaking ceremony June 17

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the future site of Markham Square at 1101 Markham Street on Thursday, June 17 at 2:00 p.m. The event will be free and open to the public.

Speakers will include Mayor Bart Castleberry, Planning & Development Director James Walden, and Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment Becky W. Keogh.

The vision for Markham Square leverages site design to demonstrate a different future for storm water management in Conway. The park will transform a brownfield site plagued by flooding into a lively storm water park and cultural asset for the city. By integrating green infrastructure techniques, exuberant plantings, and social spaces, Markham Square will encourage the appreciation of natural ecological systems and foster a culture of care in which we collectively value and steward our local landscapes.

Planning & Development Director James Walden believes Markham Square will transform the neighborhood for years to come.

“We’re transforming an area that was, from an environmental perspective, one of the worst in our community. This is a positive step toward environmental justice in that neighborhood,” said Walden. “We’re taking what used to be an eyesore for the community and turning it into a major asset that we will fully embrace as a showpiece for our community.“

As a part of the ceremony, the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment will present the city with a certificate of completion for the EPA Region 6 Brownfield Program. Objectives of the program include returning unproductive, potentially contaminated properties back to beneficial use, defining financial liabilities associated with cleanup, and ensuring environmentally sound redevelopment.

“We’re appreciative of the Division of Environmental Quality for partnering with us on this important project. It’s a great example of how state and local government can work together to transform Conway,” Mayor Bart Castleberry. “The program and this site in particular is a great example of reclaiming a property and redeveloping it into a signature public space in the heart of Conway.”

Construction of Markham Square is funded by the Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Division.