Arkansas City officials continue to work toward Wilson Park improvements outlined nearly three years ago.

The city was recently awarded a $300,000 grant to help build the splash pad and other phase one projects, City Manager Nick Hernandez said this week.

The city received $300,000 from the Land and Water conservation Fund and has two private funding partners to help fund the $777,192 project.

This part of the Phase One plan includes the addition of new restrooms and a splash pad. Hernandez said it will also include the pumping and filtering equipment for the splash pad, and the construction of structures to provide shade.

The project still needs to be discussed by city commissioners, who also need to approve accepting the grant, Hernandez said.

“There will be a formal announcement, ribbon cutting, some type of event by the other funding parties once the commission accepts the grant,” he said. “The community will be updated this upcoming month for sure.”

Hernandez said he also wanted to squelch a rumor circulating that the splash pad will replace the Paris Park Pool.

“Those concerns are unfounded,” he said. “This is not a replacement to our historic pool.”

In addition to the private funders, which Hernandez did not name, in-kind labor by city workers would cover the remaining cost of phase one.

Commissioners approved the design for phase one of the park renovation in November of last year.

Some improvements have already been made. The city began a $60,000 restoration of the Santa Fe locomotive in the park in March 2017.

The rotunda also received a makeover. A new stage was installed, along with a new sound system and improved stage lighting.

The longterm vision includes vacant land across the street that could become a cultural arts center and new location for the public library.

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