Fishing and Burgers Highlight North Gateway Park’s Saturday Opening

North Gateway Park 8-23-13 (5)

North Gateway Park, formerly known as Valco Ponds, is open and running following an informal opening celebration this past Saturday, September 7. Attended by City of Lamar, Prowers County and Department of Parks and Wildlife officials, a free hamburger fry was hosted by the city and Heath & Turpin for the public. About six dozen persons were on hand, some laying down their fishing poles for a few minutes, to grab a burger, pickles and chips. LiveWell Prowers County representatives from High Plains Community Health Center erected a shade tent and were handing out bags of health oriented information as swell as oranges.

North Gateway Park Dedication (1)

Rick Akers, Lamar Parks and Recreation director thanked members of the DPW and regional supervisor Travis Black, along with the city street department for their involvement in getting the first pond opened to the public.

Akers and Mayor Stagner

Akers and Mayor Stagner

Since receiving the deed to the property, the City of Lamar has filled one smaller pond and has  done some grading around the first pond to make it safe and accessible to the public.

North Gateway Park 8-23-13 (1)

Last week, city crews and members of the DPW had been busy erecting safety fencing around the perimeter of the pond closest to the Arkansas River Bridge. The other ponds are currently fenced off to the public. “It’ll be a great area for people to come and fish, observe wildlife…just a great area for people to come out and enjoy and utilize this area on the north side of town,” Mayor Roger Stagner said.

City Administrator John Sutherland praised those who also contributed their efforts to the Park. He thanked former councilman Jim Larrick for all the work he had done on the initial stages of the city receiving the land from Tom Brubaker who owned the 108 acres containing the four ponds north of Lamar.

Lamar City Administrator John Sutherland

Lamar City Administrator John Sutherland

Sutherland took the long view for the future of the park and its future role in the development of the City of Lamar, telling the gathering, “This is a rare asset for a city, to tell you the truth. It’s unusual for a city our size to have a 108 acre park. This will be an amazing investment for the north side of city. A great welcoming entranceway to the way that people see our city when they come from the north,” Sutherland explained.

Travis Black of DPW

Travis Black of DPW

He added that travelers are already commenting on the number of people they see in the park as they cross over the Arkansas River Bridge, coming into Lamar. He continued, “You’re seeing only the very beginnings of this and I hope it serves to inspire us and sparks some excitement amongst our citizens and interaction as developing the rest of this park will take some input from all our citizens.”

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEntertainmentEventsFeaturedLamarProwers CountyRecreationTourism


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