Finney County Public Works director Roger Calkins is exited about the creation of Finney County’s newest county park — Wildwood Park.
Located two miles southwest of Garden City, just west of the fairgrounds, Wildwood Park will offer new recreation opportunities to area residents, Calkins said.
“We're just excited to give the community an option,” he said. “It's not necessarily a revenue generator, although it may create some revenue for the community, it's more about quality of life, giving (people) an option.”
County administrator Randy Partington said the idea of creating a new county park came up when he and Calkins were talking while driving around and looking at various county projects.
“We were talking about the lack of water running in the (Arkansas) river and any kind of activities that we could create … to help people have something to do that they don’t already have in the community,” he said. “Roger was like, ‘I have Bruno Pit, the mining area, that we could reclaim; what if we did a park?’ It went from there.”
Since that conversation water came to Bruno Pit and has stayed for about three years, Calkins said. In talking to older miners, he found that the water should be around for a while — about three years because it’s so deep, even after the river dries up.
The idea is to turn the area into a fishing park and place for family recreation, Calkins said.
“It will be a good little spot to go fishing,” he said. “We'll have a handicap access area and then I plan on having things like a bass fishing tournament and I'm talking to KDWP about having the very east ponds, the smaller ones, be kiddie ponds, where you have to be 14 and under to fish in it.”
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is supplying all the fish to be stocked in the ponds, Calkins said. They should be deposited around the end of April.
In addition to fishing there will be 10 camping spots for campers/RV’s and spaces for tents, sand volleyball courts and more, Calkins said. They’re still debating what else to put in, but they know they want to add walking or biking trails.
“There are lots of ideas being thrown around right now and I'm not going to commit to any (at the moment),” he said. “But we are looking at connecting the fairgrounds to Wildwood with a trail of some type, whether it be bicycle or walking. It will give people quite a (large) area.”