LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock Board of Directors and Mayor Frank Scott Jr. approved nearly $1.5 million Tuesday for improvements to Kanis Park.

City officials said that the funds will go toward rebuilding the park’s basketball courts that were removed as part of the widening of Interstate 630 in 2018.

The courts were located under the I-630 bridge crossing Rodney Parham Road but were demolished when the Arkansas Department of Transportation started working to turn the four-lane interstate into eight lanes.

Scott detailed the historic value that the courts have in the capital city, saying that the reconstruction was always an objective to accomplish.

“These historic courts are woven into the fabric of the neighborhood and really the entire city,” Scott said. “Rebuilding them has always been part of the plan, so I’m grateful to the Board for approving the necessary funding resolution so that the city can contract to get them rebuilt.”

Officials said that the funds will come from short-term financing and special project accounts, along with grant and grant-matching funds. The funds will also be used for bridge, entrance roadways and trail improvements.

Little Rock Parks and Recreation Director Leland Couch noted that the park has had upgrades over the years but residents have asked for the courts to be restored after they were demolished years ago.

City officials said that the expected date for completion is set for this summer.