Claremore Daily Progress

January 30, 2014

Will Rogers Park: City applies for revitalization grants

Rebecca Hattaway
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

With the past summer’s completion of the popular splash pad, the revitalization of Will Rogers Park is off and running. 
The multi-phase project — a partnership between the City of Claremore and several community organizations — will continue with the construction of a larger playground.
“The new playground will eventually consist of three units in neighboring pods,” said City of Claremore Director of Parks Joe Kays, who recently presented the master plan to the city council.
Funding for the first of the three units has been secured through a $15,000 grant from Kaboom/Dr. Pepper Snapple and $25,000 from the city’s capital improvements fund, according to Kays.
“We will ask for city council approval and award the project at the Feb. 17 meeting,” he said. “Plans are to have it installed by July 1.”
A total of $300,000 is needed to complete the entire playground, according to Will Rogers Park Project Organizer Crystal Campbell. 
Funds are now being raised for the second phase of playground equipment with a goal of $80,000.
Also, the city has submitted applications for two additional grants: one for the construction of a picnic shelter and restrooms; the other for a trail around the park.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund grant for the shelter and restroom is a 50/50 grant,” Kays said. “The city’s portion will be $151,000 and will come from the sales tax park fund.”
The one penny sales tax, which comes up for renewal Feb. 11, is split between the parks, police and fire departments, each receiving 20 percent, and the capital improvements fund, which receives the remaining 40 percent.
If the grant is received, the pavilion will be constructed between the splash pad and parking lot.
The second grant, from the Recreational Trails Program, is an 80/20 grant.
“The maximum grant is $200,000,” Kays said. “The total came to $209,026, so the city will pay the difference, making its portion $49,026.”
Funding will come from seed money from past grants that has been dedicated for city trails. The trail will loop around the entire park and tie into the existing sidewalk that goes up to Rogers State University, Kays said.
Both grants will be awarded by July 1, he added. If received, construction on the projects is planned for 2015.
Other projects currently in the works for Will Rogers Park include a Master Gardeners teaching garden and a memorial dedicated to veterans, firefighters and police officers who have served the community. The master plan also calls for a picnic gazebo, outdoor fitness equipment, amphitheater and plaza, as well as other amenities.
“The Will Rogers Park is one of the oldest parks in the city. It was nice to see the crowds back with the opening of the splash pad,” Kays said. “It will be a very nice project when it’s totally completed, something that will benefit all of Claremore.”
Ongoing park fundraisers include the sale of bricks and pavers, available for $25 and $100, to be used in the walkways. Individuals and businesses can also purchase sponsorships to help defray costs of benches and picnic tables.  For more information, call  Campbell at (918) 381-4482 or email her at willrogersparkproject@gmail.com.