Select Page

A city full of history, perseverance, and growth, Arkadelphia, Arkansas is home to two four-year universities — one state supported and one private faith-based — and is defined by its citizens as “a great place to call home.”

Committed to growth and improving the quality of life for residents, the community of Arkadelphia is ready to take another step forward together as it works to bring life to the future Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

At the corner of Pine and 15th Streets lies the perfect central location to host the park. Once the site of the Clark County Memorial Hospital, the property holds historical and emotional importance to many community members who have expressed their desire to retain it for the community to use rather than see it developed commercially. Many residents view it as sacred ground as it was the place many lives began and also came to an end. The future park location is nestled between residential, commercial, and religious areas.

Committed to turning plans into action, key community leaders are working with the MLK Memorial Park Committee to identify $2.5 million to fund Phases 1-3 for complete park development. Key leadership includes former residents Dr. Fitzgerald Hill and Mitch Bettis as Honorary Co-Chairmen. The MLK Memorial Park Committee includes Chairman Roland Gosey, City Manager Gary Brinkley and Mayor Dr. Scott Byrd, along with local community leaders who are committed to the development of the park and ensuring that it will be a grassroots, community-led process.

The MLK Memorial Park will offer an abundance of opportunities for all ages that will provide a blended experience including art, nature, sports, and history. Initial park design includes a quarter mile walking loop, Youth Empowerment Zone play area, splash pad, amphitheater adjacent to green gathering space, and Civil Rights educational trail. Perhaps the most valuable opportunity the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park may offer is a gathering space for groups and events in the community. For decades, even as a hospital, the site has been used as a gathering space and recent usage supports the need and desire for a public congregation at this site.

The park includes an elliptical design with all features leading back to the central greenspace that includes an outdoor amphitheater and a splashpad. The Youth Empowerment Zone play area includes two basketball courts, excellent for inclusion and casual play, as well as playground equipment and swings. The Civil Rights trail includes a series of educational kiosks placed along the walking trail to educate the public on the Civil Rights movement. The quarter mile walking trail can benefit citizens’ physical and mental health and improve overall well-being. In a park study, re-searchers found that parks with paved trails were almost 26 times more likely to be used for physical activity than parks without trails.

Key groups in Arkadelphia have cultivated the idea for an educational park and gathering space to memorialize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only will the local community be impacted, but the city is poised along Interstate 30 midway between the Texarkana and Little Rock route, making it an easy-to-reach destination for field trips, group travel, and future historic and tourism opportunities.

The timing for this project is ideal as the site is available, the perfect tribute to the location, and benefits the entire community. The City of Arkadelphia and Clark County Community Foundation depend on your support for success. Please join us in building this impactful, beneficial, meaningful facility that will benefit our community for generations to come. As Dr. King encouraged, “There’s never a wrong time to do the right thing,” and the City of Arkadelphia wholeheartedly believes in the MLK Memorial Park.

The city of Arkadelphia, Arkansas will develop a memorial park honoring the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the most notable civil rights leader of our time. The following pages outline the project, along with opportunities to support and contribute to the park, that will benefit not only Arkadelphia and Clark County but also the State of Arkansas.
A city full of history, perseverance, and growth, Arkadelphia, Arkansas is home to two four-year universities — one state supported and one private faith-based — and is defined by its citizens as “a great place to call home.”
Committed to growth and improving the quality of life for residents, the community of Arkadelphia is ready to take another step forward together as it works to bring life to the future Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.
At the corner of Pine and 15th Streets lies the perfect central location to host the park. Once the site of the Clark County Memorial Hospital, the property holds historical and emotional importance to many community members who have expressed their desire to retain it for the community to use rather than see it developed commercially. Many residents view it as sacred ground as it was the place many lives began and also came to an end. The future park location is nestled between residential, commercial, and religious areas.
Committed to turning plans into action, key community leaders are working with the MLK Memorial Park Committee to identify $2.5 million to fund Phases 1-3 for complete park development. Key leadership includes former residents Dr. Fitzgerald Hill and Mitch Bettis as Honorary Co-Chairmen. The MLK Memorial Park Committee includes Chairman Roland Gosey, City Manager Gary Brinkley and Mayor Dr. Scott Byrd, along with local community leaders who are committed to the development of the park and ensuring that it will be a grassroots, community-led process.

The MLK Memorial Park will offer an abundance of opportunities for all ages that will provide a blended experience including art, nature, sports, and history. Initial park design includes a quarter mile walking loop, Youth Empowerment Zone play area, splash pad, amphitheater adjacent to green gathering space, and Civil Rights educational trail. Perhaps the most valuable opportunity the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park may offer is a gathering space for groups and events in the community. For decades, even as a hospital, the site has been used as a gathering space and recent usage supports the need and desire for a public congregation at this site.
The park includes an elliptical design with all features leading back to the central greenspace that includes an outdoor amphitheater and a splashpad. The Youth Empowerment Zone play area includes two basketball courts, excellent for inclusion and casual play, as well as playground equipment and swings. The Civil Rights trail includes a series of educational kiosks placed along the walking trail to educate the public on the Civil Rights movement. The quarter mile walking trail can benefit citizens’ physical and mental health and improve overall well-being. In a park study, re-searchers found that parks with paved trails were almost 26 times more likely to be used for physical activity than parks without trails.
Key groups in Arkadelphia have cultivated the idea for an educational park and gathering space to memorialize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only will the local community be impacted, but the city is poised along Interstate 30 midway between the Texarkana and Little Rock route, making it an easy-to-reach destination for field trips, group travel, and future historic and tourism opportunities.
The timing for this project is ideal as the site is available, the perfect tribute to the location, and benefits the entire community. The City of Arkadelphia and Clark County Community Foundation depend on your support for success. Please join us in building this impactful, beneficial, meaningful facility that will benefit our community for generations to come. As Dr. King encouraged, “There’s never a wrong time to do the right thing,” and the City of Arkadelphia wholeheartedly believes in the MLK Memorial Park.

Leadership Team

Dr. Fitzgerald Hill

Honorary Co-Chairman

Dr. Fitz Hill is the former president of Arkansas Baptist College. In 2006, Hill was selected as the 13th president of the 129-year-old Arkansas Baptist College. Previously, Hill was the San Jose State Spartans head football coach. Along with award-winning sports columnist Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News, Hill published Crackback! How College Football Blindsides the Hopes of Black Coaches. Hill received degrees in communications and physical education from Ouachita Baptist University, a master’s degree from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. In 1989, he served as a graduate assistant football coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks. His coaching duties were interrupted when he was summoned to military duties in 1990. The veteran received the Bronze Star and Commendation Medal for services in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He served on the Razorback football coaching staff for five different head coaches during his 12-year tenure there.
While he has been the recipient of a variety of awards, two of Hill’s greatest accomplishments came in 2009 — being honored by the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas as “Leader of the Year” and winning The Stars Come Out, Inc. Celebrity Dance Showcase” with his oldest daughter Destiny as his leading lady.

Phone: (501) 951-1606
Email: fitz.hill@lrsd.org

Mitch Bettis

Honorary Co-Chairman

Mitch Bettis is the owner of Arkansas Business Publishing Group — the award-winning digital marketing and media company founded in 1995. He is also the owner and president of 360 West, a media and marketing company in Fort Worth. Bettis has more than 30 years of experience in management and publishing. Before joining Arkansas Business, Mitch oversaw GateHouse Media’s 19 print and digital products in 10 communities in Arkansas and northern Louisiana. Bettis is a proud native of Arkadelphia and Clark County. He was born at the Clark County Memorial Hospital — the site of the future MLK Memorial Park. He’s a graduate of Arkadelphia High School, and he has multi-generational roots throughout the county. His first media jobs were serving as a paperboy and reporter for the former Daily Siftings Herald. A 1990 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, Bettis did his master’s and doctorate work at Oklahoma State University. From 2007-2009, he was an assistant professor of mass communication at Ouachita Baptist University, teaching courses in public relations, advertising, multimedia communication, news, and photojournalism. He serves on the advisory board of the Hickingbotham School of Business at Ouachita, the advisory board of the School of Business at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the Board of Visitors of Lyon College, the board of directors of the EAST Initiative, and the board of the Rotary Club of Little Rock.

Roland L. Gosey

Chairman

Roland L. Gosey is the owner and managing funeral director of Williams Funeral Home in
Arkadelphia. He is a 1996 graduate of Arkadelphia High School and a 2004 graduate of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope. At the age of 27, he became then the youngest funeral home owner in the State of Arkansas. Gosey has led Williams Funeral Home to become the premier funeral home in Southwest Arkansas. He has served as a member of the Baptist Health Medical Center Advisory Board-Arkadelphia, Economic Development Corporation of Clark County, a commissioner with the Clark County Election Commission, Arkadelphia Housing Authority, Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Commissioner with the Arkadelphia Planning and Zoning Commission, Arkadelphia City Board of Directors representing Ward 4 and currently serves as Assistant Mayor.

Phone: (870) 246-4211
Cell Phone: (870) 293-9342
Email: williams.hm@sbcglobal.net

Dr. Scott Byrd, DDS

Mayor, City of Arkadelphia Dr. Scott Byrd is a 1984 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University with a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry; a four-year Army ROTC Scholarship; and Distinguished Military Graduate. He graduated from Louisiana State University School of Dentistry in 1989 and served as Freshman Class President. He entered active duty in the United States Army Dental Corps in 1989 and served as Chief Resident in General Dentistry at Fort Carson, Colorado. He completed the U.S. Army Airborne School, Combat Casualty Care Course, Army Medical Department Officer Advanced Course; and earned the Expert Field Medical Badge, the German Sports Badge and the Army Commendation Medal. In 1996 he began his dental practice in Arkadelphia. His professional and community service includes: secretary/treasurer of Southwest Arkansas District Dental Society, Arkansas State Dental Association Executive Council, Arkansas Committee on the New Dentist, Arkadelphia Parks and Recreation Committee, Arkadelphia Aquatic Park Committee, LSU School of Dentistry Alumni Board, deacon and senior high school boys Sunday School Teacher, First Baptist Church, Arkadelphia. ” Motorcycle Cannonball Cross Country Endurance Run” participant, Arkansas Dental Lifeline Board Member, Arkadelphia City Board member, Assistant Mayor 2017-2019, and Arkadelphia Mayor 2019-present. Phone: (870) 246-6745 Email: scottbyrddds@att.net

Gary Brinkley

City Manager Gary Brinkley attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas where he earned a BBA in Real Estate and Computer Information Systems. He began his professional career managing shopping malls in Fort Worth and Cleburne, Texas. He became involved in community development serving on numerous committees and as vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce. In 1998, he became the General Manager of Stockyards Station in Fort Worth where he was instrumental in the development of the former industrial area to a historical tourism destination with shopping, dining, hospitality, and entertainment. His accomplishments include the creation of the Fort Worth Herd — a twice-daily cattle drive that attracted over 750,000 visitors a year, the construction of the Hyatt Place Hotel plus the events that increased tourism from one million visitors to 3.5 million annually. Brinkley was elected to the Saginaw City Council in 1994 and served 23 years, the last 11 as mayor. During his tenure, Saginaw grew from 10,500 to 22,000 in population. In 2017, Gary accepted the position as City Manager of Arkadelphia, Arkansas. In 2019 he led the Arkadelphia Forward Initiative which passed a one-cent tax to generate $10 million over a five-year period to improve municipal services, infrastructure and improve the quality of life for residents of the city. Phone: (870) 246-9864 Email: garybrinkley@arkadelphia.gov

MLK PARK COMMITTEE

NIKKI CHANDLER

Executive Vice President, Arkadelphia Area Chamber of Commerce

MARTHA DIXON

Fashion Designer

TAYLOR CHANEY

CITY BOARD LIAISON

KYLE L. JONES

Pastor, Munn’s Chapel First Baptist Church

LEE MCGLONE

First Baptist Church, Senior Pastor Ouachita Baptist University Adjunct Professor

GARY BRINKLEY

City Manager; City of Arkadelphia

ROLAND GOSEY

CHAIRMAN – Assistant Mayor; City of Arkadelphia Owner/ Managing Funeral Director Williams Funeral Home

Share This