by Max Brantley
North Little Rock will have a formal opening at 9 a.m. Wednesday of a new fishing pier extending into the Arkansas River from Burns Park.
It will be one of the few handicapped accessible places to fish on the main portion of the river and is touted as an "excellent fisheries resource." The city built the $230,000 pier in cooperation with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which is expected to add fish habitat beneath the bridge to increase the chances of success.
Now how about an artisanal fry wagon nearby to fry up fresh caught fish (no gar, thanks) and maybe a hush puppy or two. Is that legal?
Mayor Joe Smith and the North Little Rock City Council are excited to announce that a new fishing pier in Burns Park extending over the Arkansas River has been completed. A formal opening will be held Wednesday August 7 at 9:00 AM at the site in Burns Park, south of the soccer complex just off Catfish Road. The fishing pier joins a long list of amenities at Burns Park that includes walking trails, amusement rides, playgrounds, archery range, equestrian trails, water ski lake, soccer complex, baseball and softball fields, bmx race course, two golf courses, tennis center, disc golf course, and many others. North Little Rock contends that no other city park in the state offers as many options for entertainment as our Burns Park.
The pier was made possible by a joint venture between the City of North Little Rock and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Mayor Joe Smith and Mark Oliver, Chief of Fisheries with the state will preside at the opening ceremony.
“North Little Rock citizens have been asking for more fishing amenities and the City is proud to help provide, in cooperation with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, this great facility where we hope generations of Arkansans will be able to enjoy the river,” Smith said.
Oliver added, “The new fishing pier in Burns Park is going to be an excellent fisheries resource for the community. There are only a few places to fish on the main stem of the river that are fully handicap accessible, and this location, in such a large park with so many amenities, will make it a popular destination for central Arkansas anglers. Arkansas Game and Fish is happy to partner with North Little Rock on a project that provides an inviting access in an area where so many potential anglers live within a close distance.”
The area where the pier was built has been a popular fishing area for many years. As a result the road near the pier was named Catfish Road when the Soccer Complex was completed in 2001. At a later date Game and Fish staff will add fish habitat under the pier to attract fish, making it an even more attractive fishing spot. The cantilever pier cost about $230,000 to build with $120,000 being provided by Arkansas Game and Fish through Sports Fish Restoration grant funds with the City providing $110,000 through Parks and Recreation Bond Funds and City general funds. Engineering for the project was done by Assistant City Engineer Chris Wilborn and Thomas R. Pownall with Thomas Engineering. The contractor for the project was AMR Construction.