Dr. Dean Kumpuris Awarded with Induction into Peabody Duck Walk of Fame
LITTLE ROCK (Feb. 20, 2008) – The City of Little Rock and The Peabody Little Rock revealed today plans for a newly redesigned Riverfront Park, including its newest
feature, Peabody Park, slated to open May 2008.
“We are excited and proud to be a part of the renovation of Riverfront Park, “ said Gregg Herning, general manager of The Peabody Little Rock. “We know our
neighbors and guests will enjoy spending time with their family and friends at what is certainly one of the best parks in the state.”
The Peabody Little Rock partnered with the city to provide $250,000 over the next five years to fund renovations to Riverfront Park. The donation is the most recent
among gifts given from various businesses and individuals during the last four years.
“Riverfront Park could not undergo such an extensive renovation without the support of businesses like The Peabody Little Rock, “ said Little Rock City Director Dr. Dean
Kumpuris. “They have been very generous with this gift to our city. I hope that others in the community will do the same as we continue making Central Arkansas an
attractive, welcoming place for residents and visitors alike.”
Kumpuris helped lead the efforts to revitalize the River Market and Riverfront park. Currently, he is spearheading efforts to develop public-private partnerships for Little Rock
Parks. Peabody Park is the latest of such an example. For his contributions, Kumpuris will be the second inductee into the Peabody Duck Walk of Fame, given to
whose who have worked to revitalize downtown Little Rock. Little Rock businessman Doyle W. Rogers, who was given the award Jan. 31, 2007, was the first inductee.
Previous donations to Riverfront Park have included gifts from Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Heart Clinic Arkansas and St. Vincent Health Systems to build the
“Medical Mile” segment of the Arkansas River Trail that runs between the River Market pavilion and the Baring Cross Bridge.
Peabody Park, the new children’s adventure playground at Riverfront Park’s epicenter, is designed to facilitate imaginative play, with green space, tunnels, a tube
slide, a climbing wall, a splash fountain, a spacenet and a “tree room.” The new, elevated Ozark Pavilion will overlook the play area and splash fountain.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Herning. “I think Peabody Park will add yet another great reason to spend time in Riverfront Park, and that will boost awareness of all the hard
work and care that our community leaders have been putting into it.”
Improvements to the west of Peabody Park have already been made, including extensive revamps to Belvedere Pavilion and the creation of two gardens. To better
equip it for special events, the Belvedere Pavilion was given a new native stone patio and lighting, as well as surrounding landscaping that offers a small grass
amphitheatre near the structure. The “Forever a Rose” Garden overlooking the Arkansas River features a bronze sculpture by Artist Denny Haskew. The Jack
Fleischauer Garden, located along the Arkansas River Trail just behind The Peabody, features native grasses and plants.
Renovations to the east of Peabody Park are underway as well. The main park pavilion, now renamed History Pavilion, overlooks what will later be a redeveloped
area surrounding “La Petite Roche,” the “little rock” that inspired the city’s name.
Natural wetland areas will flank the park’s river border as part of the William E. Clark Presidential Park Wetlands Project, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s
Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center is slated to open within the park later this summer.
“Our city is fortunate to have public and private leaders who are willing to work together to capitalize on our area’s natural beauty,” said Little Rock Mayor Mark
Stodola. “Riverfront Park is host to many community events each year. We all benefit from the efforts Dean, Gregg and others have put forth to make the park even more
enjoyable for Central Arkansas natives and newcomers.”
Riverfront Park was established as a city park in 1982. Soon after it was built, its location attracted Riverfest to the location. In 1986, Riverfront Amphitheatre was built
to house concerts and other special events, and the River Market district followed in the year 1996.
Little Rock Parks and Recreation (LRPR) oversees 53 parks, four community centers, the Adult Leisure Center, the Jim Dailey Fitness and Aquatic Center, four swimming pools, two tennis centers, the RiverMarket, the Riverfest Amphitheatre, three golf courses and the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. The agency also administers the urban forestry program and offers a catering service. The LRPR system includes more than 5,000 acres of designated parks and open space.
In addition, the organization offers a wide range of youth and adult recreational and sports leagues, after-school and summer playground programs for children ages 6-15, outdoor recreation, therapeutic recreation and programs for seniors. LRPR, which employs more than 350 dedicated and experienced people, is one of 66 organizations
in the United States to be accredited through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies through the National Recreation and Park Association.
Through collaborations with citizens, community organizations and corporate and government entities, LRPR is working to make Little Rock a “City in a Park.”
The Peabody Little Rock is a Four-Diamond, Wine Spectator Award of Excellence property of Peabody Hotels within the portfolio of Peabody Hotel Group.