Plans Continue for Valco Pond and Park


Excavation Work at Valco Pond, Spring 2012

Area residents and visitors alike will one day enjoy an almost 200 acre park and pond complex, just north of the City of Lamar at the Arkansas River.  Some excavation work on Valco Pond and property has already taken place this spring and summer, but more specific planning and funding will be needed before the park is ready for public access. 

Interim Lamar City Administrator Steven Rabe has sent letters seeking support from various civic organizations.   Former Lamar City Councilman Jim Larrick met with Prowers County Commissioners Thursday, July 12, to provide an update on progress at the site and what will be required to qualify for future funding. 

“The city is meeting with land owner Tom Brubaker to review what will happen when the property is deeded over to the city,” Larrick said.  Larrick is helping coordinate the transfer with the city and Division of Parks and Wildlife.  “One pond has been filled in,” he said, adding, “The grades to the other ponds may need to be re-sloped from 4 to 1 to 3 to 1 feet for the public.  The first pond nearest the bridge is the deepest at 85 feet and flood-control, excavation work has taken place at the bridge that crosses the river.  The pond closest to the bridge is almost nine acres in size, the middle pond is narrower and contains 6.6 acres and the third pond is almost square-shaped and contains 15.4 acres, plus a half acre island in the northeastern corner.

Larrick said the next big step is getting funding, approximately $60,000 to create a master plan detailing how the park will be laid out and what steps the city will take to get there.  The final plan can be forwarded to GoCo for funding for the remainder of the work.  Larrick asked the commissioners for a letter of support for the project, and to consider setting aside $5,000 in next year’s budget as their contribution to the cost of the master plan. 

Larrick said although some of the property extends north of the river, the plans are focusing on the south side.  “We are working with the Division of Parks and Wildlife on stocking the ponds with fish and may need to construct a boat ramp so Wildlife workers can draw samples,” he explained.  Water augmentation is also a consideration and the renting of LAWMA shares may be a 50/50 plan, using about 70 shares with the Division.  Revegetation and seeding of the property is one of the early tasks required, and it may take several years before the state is satisfied enough to sign off on that project.  A portion of the property owned by All Rite Paving needs to be fenced from public access as well.  Larrick said he’d prefer that any hunting be prohibited at the site, as the ponds are used by geese as nesting sites.  Commissioner Joe Marble mentioned that he’d spotted some goslings near the island in the eastern most pond recently.  The area is currently closed to the public and anyone found fishing at the ponds will be asked to leave as they are still trespassing on private property.

By Russ Baldwin

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