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New city park in fundraising stage

Pictured is the Clay Street Park playground perspective.
Pictured is the Clay Street Park playground perspective.

A new city park located at 603 E. Clay St. has been in the works since the city started it’s Safe Route to School phase II. A new park in general has been a recognized need since 2012 when the city began a comprehensive planning process and noticed a lack of recreation space on the northeast side of town.

The location was chosen because it was a vacant lot that had become a mowing nuisance to the city. When the Safe Route to School sidewalk was installed the lot showed promise for a new park, being on the right side of town.

To pursue the property back in 2016 the city first had to write to the previous owner, from whom there was no response. The next step was to find the tax certificate investor, who was in Arkansas. The tax certificates were bought for $5,499. The city has officially owned the property since Aug. 30, 2018.

Veenstra and Kimm Engineering has been working with the Park and Rec Board on a master plan and estimated cost for the park. Both of which were approved by the Board Sep. 4, 2018.

The park is set to include poured rubber instead of sand, pebbles or wood chips so that it is handicap accessible. The plan also includes many educational pieces for users of all ages so while children are playing they can also explore, problem solve and work together. A 20 foot by 30 foot shelter with a restroom will also be available. Three exercise stations will be placed throughout the park along with a bike rack, benches with shade, site lights and drinking water fountain.

The landscape of the park will include multiple areas with various types of trees, flowerbeds, shrubs, a paved walkway and wooden fence.

The additional park will fill the gap identified in the comprehensive plan and serve an under served area of town. The proposed design specifically is intended to be accessible to all users and for a variety of age groups. This park will have some amenities that the other city parks lack.

The total cost is set at $458,000. The goal of the city is to pay for the park using grants and donations. The city is also working in conjunction with Operation Recreation, a local non-profit.

The City will start construction when the funds are in place to finance the project. To donate to the East Clay Street Park Project contact Ty Wheeler, City Administrator, Tim Riddle, Parks and Recreation Director or Mayor Thomas Kedley.