Riverfront Park on the north end of Fort Scott near the Marmaton River, is a work in progress.
As grants have been received, the Riverfront Park Authority Board has put in place many amenities that the public can enjoy: a tree-lined walking trail and lighting for that trail, a pavilion with electricity, several resting areas and a boardwalk, with views overlooking the river.
A recent flood wrecked the boardwalk overlook, so it was disassembled and moved to the south, across the river on higher ground.
“The flood put it on the edge of the riverbank, almost in the river,” Jerry Witt, a member of the Riverfront Park Authority said.
Johnny Walker Construction did the work of moving the boardwalk, he said. The timber for the original project was donated by Evergy Electric and was reused.
The Fort Scott Fire Department washed and cleaned it after it was reconstructed, about two months ago, Witt said.
“It’s shaded in a beautiful spot,” Witt said.
On the horizon for the Riverfront Park Authority is an 8-foot wide asphalt trail that will lead to the boardwalk overlook.
In a circle garden spot on the River Loop Road, from which one can now see the boardwalk, the Bourbon County Garden Club has planted a colorful garden.
“I want to thank them for their work,” Witt said.
This club also plants and maintains the plants in downtown Fort Scott.
“The fire department has been watering the flower bed this summer and we thank them, as well,” Witt said.
There has been added traffic to the River Loop Park because of the murals painted in the Hwy. 69 underpass that segments the park, he said.
The murals were painted by local artist Stephen Toal.
To view a prior story on Toal and see the murals: Art Is Therapy For Toal
The Riverfront Park Authority Board is preparing the write a grant to finish the walking trails on the River Loop Road, Witt said.
The board has also had the engineering done and also permits completed to build a walking bridge across the river, he said.
“We just need the funding to secure that,” Witt said.
The board applied for a grant a few years ago to bring a historic Bourbon County bridge to the park for public use.
“We received a $750,000 grant to move it, but all bids came in over $1,000,000, so we gave the grant back,” Witt said.
The idea to remake Riverfront Park began in 2005 and a group of citizens was commissioned by then-Governor Sibelius in 2007.
The board is comprised of Witt, Bob Love, Danny Magee, Arnold Schofield, Jeff Sweetser, and Allen Warren. Ex-officio members are Dean Mann, Betty Boyko, Penny Barnes, and Kate Sweetser.
To see a prior story on the park: