Wichita plans to eventually create a 215-acre lake with a beach

Crystal Prairie Lake Park will include a 215-acre lake. Dredging for the south end of the lake could be completed as early as 2018.
Crystal Prairie Lake Park will include a 215-acre lake. Dredging for the south end of the lake could be completed as early as 2018. Courtesy photo

Wichita will eventually be home to a 420-acre park with a lake that offers everything from a swim beach to scuba diving, and another park that will be one of the largest urban wetlands parks in the country.

These parks — Crystal Prairie Lake and Pracht Wetlands — are two of the three undeveloped park sites that are slated to get funding in the city’s 2016-2025 Capital Improvement Program. Though none of these parks will be entirely complete by 2025, construction will be underway at each location and some parts of each park may be open earlier.

Here’s what the city is planning for these parks:

▪ Pracht Wetlands Park could be under construction as early as this fall. The first phase of development will include work on park trails, visitor parking, a boardwalk system and observation areas to watch birds and wildlife. The second phase will include more boardwalks, observation areas and overlooks. The third and fourth phases of construction are awaiting funding, but will add an observation tower and complete a perimeter trail around the entire park.

Location: West 29th Street North and Maize Road

Funds: $250,000 in 2017, $500,000 in 2018

Amenities: Boardwalks, wildlife viewing blinds, trails, overlook points, Cadillac Lake and more.

▪ Crystal Prairie Lake Park will begin construction in 2019. Cornejo Materials Inc. has been excavating sand and dredging in the area for more than a decade. The park will have a 215-acre lake, the southern portion of which could be completed as early as 2018. The following year, the city will begin shaping the lake, restoring banks, seeding native plants and grasses and preparing the overall infrastructure for the park. In 2022, the city will begin construction on the park entrance, parking and access ways, the swim beach and concessions. In 2024, the city plans to add shelter buildings, additional parking, trail expansions and decorative planting. It will be one of the largest parks in Wichita when complete.

Location: North of K-96 between North Hoover Road and the Arkansas River

Funds: $2 million in 2019, $4 million in 2022, $3.5 million in 2024

Amenities: 14 miles of trails, swim beach, beach house, cable wake park, shelter and events buildings, fishing points and pier, festival lawn and amphitheater, lake scuba diving area, picnic areas, playgrounds, boardwalks, nature center, cove marina and personal watercraft launch. It will also offer a cable wake park where a cable, rather than a motor boat, is used for water skiing and wake boarding.

▪ Central and Bristol Park is a 14.4-acre lot in east Wichita. Construction could begin in 2021, but there are no specific plans for the area yet. It will include a police substation to serve the community.

Location: East Central and North Bristol, east of Greenwich Road

Funds: $100,000 in 2021, $600,000 in 2022, $600,000 in 2023

Amenities, Police substation, playground, seating, open space.

Delaney Hiegert: 316-268-6212, @Delaney_C

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