Grant sought to fund new Welch Park trails

Project would feature new concrete path, five benches

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This site map shows a proposed concrete walking trail and five benches at Welch Park, 615 Annawood Drive in the Ranchwood Heights Addition. (Image provided)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A new walking trial and amenities at a Yukon park would be funded largely by a federal grant.

City of Yukon officials want to install 2,252 feet of new sidewalk and park benches at Welch Park, 615 Annawood Drive. The site is near Ranchwood Elementary School in the Ranchwood Heights Addition.

The Welch Park trails project would cost $375,000, with $300,000 coming from a 2023 Recreation Trails Program Grant.

Yukon grant writer Claudia Krshka will submit the grant request to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, which administers the Federal Highway Administration’s federal aid program.

If the “reimbursement” grant is awarded, the City of Yukon would provide $75,000 in matching funds for the project. The grant covers 80% of the total cost.

The grant proposal will be submitted by Jan. 31. Once awarded, the project must be completed within two years.

The Yukon City Council approved the grant submission at its Jan. 17th meeting, which included a public hearing to receive citizen input.

Yukon Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort

“The proposed project is an 8-foot-wide, concrete path that begins at the Welch Park parking lot and extends to the east creating a loop around the pond,” Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort wrote in a memo to the city council.

“Included in this project will be a 10-foot by 20-foot concrete pad that will be used for accessible fishing, five benches and five trash receptacles. Educational signage will also be included in the project.”

For the first time ever, Welch Park in March 2022 hosted Yukon Parks & Recreation’s annual Trout Fish Out.

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FREEDOM TRAIL CONTRACT OK’D

Meanwhile, the Yukon City Council has approved a contract with Rudy Construction to construct the new Freedom Trail Playground and Splash Pad project at 2100 S Holly.

The total cost is $1,682,235.80. This project is partially funded by a $400,000 Land & Water Conservation Grant.

Construction was delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the price tag increased more than $400,000 due to rising costs of supplies and materials.

The award-winning Freedom Trail was one of only two “all-inclusive” playgrounds in Oklahoma when it opened in 1996 at Yukon City Park.

Freedom Trail was closed in May 2022 as crews demolished the play structures and equipment to prepare for the updated playground and splash pad water feature.

Construction is expected to take about 10 months.

This major upgrade to Freedom Trail Playground will come more than 25 years after it was built.

Over the past quarter century, Freedom Trail had deteriorated and required significant maintenance. Many pieces of broken equipment couldn’t be repaired or replaced.

A committee comprised of Yukon citizens and city staff worked with the landscape architect to design the new playground.

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