North Gateway Park Opening September 1


Work crews from the City of Lamar and staff from the state Department of Parks and Wildlife have focused on improvement projects at the former Valco Ponds, north of Lamar for the past several days. Motorists crossing the Arkansas River have been noticing more earth moving vehicles at the site recently, the first phase of the improvement project for the 108 acre development.

Rick Akers, Lamar Parks and Recreation Director, was reviewing the progress being made with the crews on Friday, August 23. A safety cable barrier is going up for two parking areas on the pond nearest the bridge. A temporary fence will be erected keeping the pubic away from the remaining easterly ponds and All Rite Paving gravel pit facilities until additional work has been completed. Earth movers are scraping away loose dirt and gravel to compact a parking lot adjacent to the pond. Crews are reducing the angle of the dirt slopes between the parking lots leading to the pond to make them more accessible by the public. A temporary boat ramp will be located next to the north parking area and parking will be at the southern end of the pond as you enter. Cable gates are being strung along a west dirt road that divides the pond from the highway. Akers said the preliminary work will allow the park to be open to the public by the first of September.


This is the first phase of a comprehensive improvement project for Valco Ponds now called North Gateway Park since it was deeded to the city by the owner, Tom Brubaker, earlier this summer. Most of the future improvements are contingent on several grant sources from the state and federal government. The amount of water needed to revegetate the property is a concern that the city will address. Signs will be posted for the public outlining the designated parking areas and those sections that are not open to visitors. Swimming is not allowed in the pond.

Editor’s Note:  The Lamar City Council has scheduled a Grand Opening Event for the community on Saturday, September 7, at Noon.


By Russ Baldwin



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