The revitalization of Washington Park’s pond, which has languished over the years, will continue this year and could eventually include a scenic walking trail around its banks.
Washington City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to apply for a $250,000 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to build the walkway as it renews work to dredge the pond and turn it into a cornerstone attraction within the park.
“If we have nice parks and nice features for the residents, that will help to attract other people to move into the city,” Washington Mayor Brenda Davis said.
Dredging of the pond, which is in Washington Park off of Dunn Avenue next to the pool, began last year and was halted due to freezing temperatures this winter. Davis expects the work to start again soon to help with storm water management and drainage into nearby Catfish Creek.
A large excavator sat parked on the pond’s muddy banks Friday morning. A pool of water filled in the normally dry base of the pond after rainstorms swept through the area in recent days.
Washington Park is undergoing a $2.5 million construction makeover and is in the first phase that will repair the pool, renovate the bathhouses and refreshments pavilion and rebuild the pond. The work is part of a multimunicipal recreation comprehensive plan passed by council last May.
The pond, which had grass and other vegetation growing inside the bowl as recently as last year, was left in disrepair and was no longer an attraction for park visitors.
“There was always a pond there, but it wasn’t maintained and fell by the wayside,” Davis said.
The dredging of the pond floor is expected to last another six months and will help alleviate flooding in the area, Davis said. The walking path, which would be built to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, will eventually connect to Shetland Field and the pool.
It’s not known when construction on the trail would begin if the city is successful in securing the DCNR grant money.
“You’re always trying to get more money to come in so you can feed more projects,” Davis said. “It will be a nice water feature to get the senior crowd out there.”