As a youngster, Bronnell Smith found stability and support in sports and recreation programs, so he worked hard to provide those same opportunities to boys and girls in this neighborhood as well. Smith organized and coached ball teams at nearby Monroe Elementary School and served as a pack leader for the local Cub Scout troop. To the kids and parents in the neighborhood, the beloved Smith was simply known as Smitty.
The land for this park was originally part of the Land Run homestead of Civil War veteran Abram George Mudgett who became a doctor despite partially losing his sight in the war. The city later acquired the land for the park in 1962 when the Deep Fork River was channeled for flood control. Children and parents of the neighborhood petitioned the city to name it Smitty Park in honor of Bronnell Smith in 1964.