Shoshoni seeking state funds to rehab local park, enhance recreation access

Shoshoni is applying for a $388,000 grant to rehabilitate the recreational space near the local softball field commonly referred to as “rock park.”

The money would come from the Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Department.

Trailhead

The state agency denied Shoshoni’s initial application for funding due to a miscommunication, Mayor Joel Highsmith said during a Shoshoni Town Council meeting last week.

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“We initially got a letter that said that we had not made the final cut,” he said. “(But) I thought we had a pretty good application, so I called, and we discussed it.”

Highsmith said state staffers told him the application had been denied because “city parks did not qualify for this grant” – but he was able to explain to them that “this isn’t a city park.”

“It’s an old city park that we’re changing,” he said. “This money is for a trailhead, which is high on (their priority) list. … Statewide they’re trying to develop trails and advertise trails and bring people using trails. That’s a big push.”

After their conversation, Highsmith said agency staffers agreed that “this really sounds like what we want to do.”

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“They sent us a new application,” Highsmith said. “They really want to look at it again.”

Heritage Trail

By promoting local access to the Wyoming Heritage Trail via the rock park, Highsmith said the town is taking advantage of “a good opportunity to bring a lot of people to Shoshoni.”

The town would use the grant money from the state to refurbish the public restrooms and picnic area at the park and pave over the basketball and tennis courts to allow for more parking there, he said.

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Shoshoni’s initial grant request also included about $100,000 for a paved road accessing the park, but Highsmith said that portion of the plan was not necessary and would be eliminated in the second application, which is due Dec. 1.

“We don’t have to have a paved road … to make it functional,” he said. “(People) can drive on the road we’ve got now.”

For more information call the Town of Shoshoni at 876-2515.

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