New in Riverfront Park: Labyrinth In Memory of Allen Warren

Jackie Warren at the memorial , a labyrinth path, at Riverfront Park for her late husband, Allen Warren. Her husband was on the Riverfront Authority Board until his recent death. Jackie and Allen  volunteered labor and equipment to help construct the park, according to Jerry Witt. Submitted photo.
The Belltown Trail in Riverfront Park continues to be popular, even though Fort Scott is under a heat advisory, according to Jerry Witt.  “Many exercise enthusiasts continue to walk the trail under the shade of the tree lined path.”
“A lot of people use the park,” he said.
Witt is chairman of a board called the Riverfront Authority  that has been improving the park on North National Avenue in Fort Scott since 2005.
There is a new addition to the park added this summer.
The Fort Scott Area Community Foundation awarded a $1,500 grant to construct a labyrinth path, according to Witt. A labyrinth concrete pad has been completed next to the west side of the half-mile Belltown Trail.  A labyrinth is a complex and circuitous path that leads from a beginning point to a center.
“It was Allen Warren’s idea to construct a labyrinth path in Riverfront Park,” he said.  “He met with his Methodist minister, Christopher Eshelman, and Riverfront staff to talk about the possibilities of this being placed in Riverfront Park. But before the final plans were in place, Allen passed away.”
For the many hours of volunteer labor and use of his tractor equipment donated to the park construction,  Witt decided to go ahead with the project and dedicate the labyrinth to Allen’s memory.
“The 24 ft. by 24 ft. concrete pad structure can be used by citizens to walk it’s path for meditation or just as a playful path for exercise,” Witt said. ” A plaque to honor Allen will be placed by the structure.”
History of Riverfront Park
Members of Fort Scott Bourbon County Riverfront Authority discuss updates on construction projects at Riverfront Park in 2017. From left clockwise: Dan Magee, Bob Love, Allen Warren, Jerry Witt and Jeff Sweetser.

The park began as an outshoot of a town wide visioning event in 2005, when citizens wanted to develop the Marmaton River as an asset to the community.

“Dean Mann saw the vision of a riverfront park and he was the original chairman, until he retired several years ago,” Witt said.

The Fort Scott Bourbon County Riverfront Authority was formed in April 2007, with approval from then Kansas Governor Sebelius.

Their mission was to purchase and develop land along the river to create a park and they also created a master plan.

“We had to have property owners buy in to the vision of the park,” Witt said. “Most donated land to the Riverfront Park.” That process took years.

The Belltown Trail information kiosk at Riverfront Park.

Since then the following has been put in the park: a lighted walkway, parking spaces, an observation deck at rivers edge, a pavilion and a loop drive on the south side of the river which goes under Hwy. 69.

Riverfront Park’s overlook structure in 2021.

Local artist Stephan Toal has beautified the inside of the underpass with historical murals.

Murals by Stephen Toal. Submitted photo.

The Fort Scott Garden Club has planted and maintained a flower garden on the south side, with the Fort Scott Fire Department watering it. The City of Fort Scott put in a facility in the southwest part of the trail for people to fill their water bottles.

“The city has plans to build a walkway from the north side of the bridge to the Bell Town Trail, probably this fall,” Witt said.

Paul Ballou, who works for the city helps maintain the park and does “a great job,” Witt said.

The park has been used for weddings, business meetings on nice days,  car shows and many other events..

“There will be a festival in the park on Sept. 30,” Witt said. “It will be all day and feature Bluegass music and a car show.”

To reserve the pavilion, one must call the city offices at 223-0550.

Members of the Riverfront Authority at the ribbon cutting of the  pavilion in 2018. From left Allen Warren, Arnold Schofield, Danny Magee, Jerry Witt, Dean Mann and Betty Boyko.

Current members of the Riverfront Authority board: Penny Barnes, Dan Magee, Bob Love, Arnold Schofield, Jeff Sweetser and Witt. Mann remains an ex-officio member, and Kate Sweetser is a part of the group as well, Witt said.


3 thoughts on “New in Riverfront Park: Labyrinth In Memory of Allen Warren”

  1. From Allen Warren’s 2022 obituary:

    After retirement, Allen and Jackie returned home to Fort Scott. He became involved with the community serving on the Bourbon County Fair Board, chairman of the board of trustees at the First United Methodist Church, organizing a Wednesday morning work crew at the church, president of the Pioneer Harvest Fiesta, member of the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation, and member of the Chamber of Commerce. He also served as trustee on the Fort Scott Community College and was a founding member of the Southeast Kansas Regional Education Service Center (Greenbush). Furthermore, Allen served four years as Bourbon County Commissioner and worked on the Riverfront Project.


    He was a low-key guy who contributed a lot to his community. It’s fitting that his name is attached to the Riverfront Park in this way.

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