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First Street riverfront park project moving forward after Casper accepts grant

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North Platte River

The North Platte River flows through Casper underneath the First Street bridge in 2019. The city plans to create a riverfront park near First Street.

Casper will move forward with plans to create a riverfront park including a boat ramp, path and picnic areas near First Street after the City Council voted this month to accept a grant to help fund the project.

The city is set to receive $246,290 from the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources’ Land and Water Conservation Fund to go towards the first phase of construction on the First Street Gateway Project.

According to a city memo, that will include landscaping, replacing the pathway between the BNSF bridge and First Street, and putting in a boat ramp and parking lot with a driveway from B Street.

The rest of the money needed for that phase, which is estimated to cost nearly $500,000, will come from a $60,000 county recreation board grant, around $42,000 from Casper 1-cent tax revenue and roughly $144,000 in city and volunteer services.

The area affected by the project follows the east bank of the North Platte between First Street and the railroad bridge over the river north of West Bc Street. Much of the land is made up of existing or constructed wetlands.

A memo from the council’s Nov. 16 meeting notes that access to the river in the targeted area is difficult as it’s set up now, and “stifles recreation.”

Current plans state that 1,650 feet, or about a third of a mile, of the existing pathway along the river will be replaced. The landscaping planned for the site will include native grasses, the memo states.

The project will also include the installation of a sign recognizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund at the entrance to the park.

The council first voted to submit a grant application for the project in December, which was accepted in the spring. The National Park Service approved the project in September, according to the city.

Follow city and crime reporter Ellen Gerst on Twitter at @ellengerst.

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