West Extension to
the White River
The small railroad boom town of Cotter is located within a bend in Arkansas' White River. Cotter is a well-planned community eight blocks wide. Big Spring Park is located in the tip of the White River's bend, to the west of Cotter's gridded downtown. The park ends the axis of McLean Avenue, Cotter's central east-west street containing City Hall, the Water and Sewer Department and the Fire Department.
Purpose of the Project:
Because Big Spring Park is a vital, sustained point of interest for Cotter, we would like to show the community opportunities for bettering the quality of the park and increasing its value as a community asset. The presence of the riverfront and Big Spring attract many visitors to the cool water. The large number of visitors necessitates building that would not be needed in a lesser used area. Definition of motorways and pathways has become important as the park has become more well-used. In order to secure the river's banks and provide safe public access to the water for visitors, work must be done in the park.
Approaching Big Spring Park from McLean Avenue, you immediately see the white mass of the Spring House, Cotter's own small home. The Spring House can be rented daily for purposes such as community gatherings, reunions, and youth meetings. It was renovated in 1996, and includes two large sized rooms, full kitchen facilities, a back porch designed as a concession stand, and a large deck facing the new softball field. Continuing on the curvy road, you pass the parks white painted concrete block restroom facilities, and the pavilion comes to view at the edge of a piece of sloping land. The pavilion is made of strong metal beams placed on a concrete pad and is roofed with metal. Beside the pavilion, the playground equipment sits. There are swings and there will be an addition soon where toddlers can play. Just down the slope from the pavilion, a sand volleyball court stands. Across the road from the pavilion is a large flat grassy area skirted by paths on two sides. Just beside the slope to the spring is an old structure, the Cotter city well, that stands monument to more difficult times.
The Native Americans that traveled through the area first used the spring that has become the focal point for Big Spring Park. It provided a stopping point and point of reference for travelers for many centuries. The first citizens of the city of Cotter channeled the spring into a fountain. Buckets could be easily filled with freshwater all year. Cotter's icehouse, later given to the city, was renamed the Spring House and has become a gathering place for community members.
marking entry to the park
reestablishing significance of the park
opportunity to advertise events and demonstrate spirit
Landscaping at the Spring House
the Spring House is located right on the axis from the front gate, to take advantage of this highly visible location the Spring House should have the parking removed from the front and replaced with beautiful landscaping. Make the Spring House a showpiece.
Parking expansion North of the Spring House
keeps excess traffic out of park reducing damage caused by cars
facilitate "event" parking
circle drive with grouped parking to preserve "park" atmosphere
Terrace and erosion control at the Big Spring Swing
utilization of natural stone
obvious project, much support
Sidewalks and Path Definition
established paths, sidewalks, and roads let users know where they are supposed to be, and in the long run, preserves areas that are not intended to be paths or sidewalks
logical movement through park to ease congestion and preserve resources. Improvements at Old Spring Well
a "face lift" for a historical treasure
incorporates stone steps into the river with a stone encasement of the fountain Bandstand
end of axis, monumental area
picturesque addition to park
increase park's facilities and value
Car and Trailer Parking Definition and Expansion at River
a paved area for parking and boat access will decrease erosion, parking confusion, and help preserve the integrity of the river
Cotter Trout Dock Definition
relocation to reduce congestion at the spring
Improvements for Rainbow Bridge Trail
trail surface, benches, information, and signage
connections to other trail systems
Parking Improvements adjacent to Baseball field
defining parking to preserve areas that are not meant to be driven on
seasonal harvest activity
"natural" feature of park that offers a different kind of experience
educational opportunities and school outreach potential
opportunity for a harvest festival, and community projects
Road and landscaping around Shelter
beautifying shelter with well placed screens, defined planting, and parking areas Lighting
definition of paths
This view of Big Spring Park is from above the bridge. Larger photo, 1180 x 762, 111k.
This photo shows a view of Big Spring Park and its relationship to the downtown area, the White River, and the historic bridges. Note the axis leading directly to the park from the downtown area. Larger photo: 1162 x 752, 118k.
This photo identifies the two historic bridges over the White River.
The larger one is 1166 x 762, 95k.
Bottom left photo identifies the amazing configuration of the park.
The larger photo is 1184 x 773, 123k.
This photo illustrates some of the beautiful spaces created by the bridge as it passes the park overhead. It also identifies the spring, parking and paving, the bridge, pavilion, band shell, and general configuration of the park. The larger version of the photo is 1184 x 773, 135k.
This view shows the Park Gateway as you approach on McLean Avenue.
The large version is 1184 x 773, 110k.
This is a view looking back through the Park Gateway from Big Spring Park to the downtown area. Note the axis of McLean Avenue. The bigger version is 1166 x 750, 111k.
This photo shows the Pecan Orchard planted in the park. The large version is 1184 x 773, 140k.
The final photo identifies improvements in parking and paving, lighting, and erosion control. The larger view is 1184 x 773, 115k.
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Last updated: 02.03.2004