Written by Seth Stephenson - 5NewsOnline
SILOAM SPRINGS (KFSM) -- The city of Siloam Springs broke ground on City Lake improvements after owning the property for more than 70 years.
City leaders said they were excited to see movement and loose dirt at the park.
"We've owned this property for a long long time. It's been in it's natural state. We've always wanted to be able to include some recreational amenities here and now we have what I believe to be an accurate path to get there," city administrator Phillip Patterson said.
The path includes five miles of dirt trails, a bike park and a disc golf course.
"There's been some strong advocates working with the city for almost two decades to really kind of bring this to reality," Ozark Off Road Cyclist executive director Brannon Pack said.
Pack said the park and its improvements will help fill a need that many people have.
"We see this project and this park specifically serving a large user base to people hungry for this type of opportunity to come play outside," Pack said.
While Pack said he is hopeful that the changes will draw people outside, Patterson hopes it will get them inside of local businesses.
"There's clearly an impact where people are going to come here and enjoy themselves," Patterson said. "Hopefully they'll come into downtown Siloam Springs, they'll have lunch, they'll spend a little money and we'll get the economic impact from that."
Even though there is still more to do, Pack said what will be accomplished at City Lake could influence others.
"It will be a regional destination for mountain biking, hiking, trail running, dog walking, kayaking with the kayak park. They're creating amenities here that other cities are going to learn from," Pack said.
The city plans to complete the project in two phases. The first phase is expected to be done at the end of 2017.