Recreation Department Master Plan Meeting Set for Wednesday

The Lamar Sports Fourplex, Escondido Park, The Valco ponds, the Willow Creek Caretaker’s House, walking trails, a skateboard park…these and other area recreational outlets will be on the table for public discussion, Wednesday, March 21 at the City Master Plan meeting of the Lamar Recreation Department. 

Construction Work at Valco Pond, North of Lamar

Rick Akers, City Leisure Services Director, wants to see a large public turnout next Wednesday at 7pm to get public input on what Lamar residents want to see in their city for recreation outlets.  “We’re also going to focus our attention on finishing the remaining two ballfields at the fourplex,” Akers said.  “We’re applying for a GoCo grant of about $265,000 which will finance the two field’s completion in one year,” he added.  Akers said the city will have to provide about 25% to 30% in matching funds, which could come from Conservation Trust Funds.  “We’re looking at fences, grass and lights.  The lights will be the greatest expense, about $100,000 to $110,000,” Akers explained.  When complete, Lamar will provide three, first class softball fields and one baseball field for local, regional, state and national competition.  The first and second fields have already hosted two different Babe Ruth World Series events.  Akers added, “We can play competitively on them, and they will be used for practice fields as well.”  He said, “The more these fields can be used for state and regional tournaments, the more visitors we’ll see in Lamar and that translates into improving our economy with restaurants, motels, gas and retail sales.” 

Caretaker's Cottage in Willow Creek Park

The city has received construction plans for improving the Caretaker’s House on the east side of Willow Creek Park, funded by an earlier grant.  Reconstruction won’t be cheap, as costs are estimated at $600,000.  Akers said soccer has been growing in popularity in Lamar over the past two years and between games at the high school practice field and Escondido Park, plus a college and high school team forming, he knows more and more youth will be taking part.   

Escodido Park off North 14th Street

Work has been progressing on the Valco Pond complex, recently deeded over to the city.  One of the four ponds has been filled in and work is underway on the 108 acres to alter the steep grades leading down to the ponds.  This will make them more accessible to the public.  Since last year, some of the ponds have already been stocked for fishing.  Akers said there aren’t any concrete plans on how the acreage will be developed, adding, “That’s what this meeting will be all about.  We want public input on what they feel is necessary and how they’d like to see their tax dollars spent.  All suggestions will be welcome.”

By Russ Baldwin


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