Before you reach the rapids of the Whitewater Park, you need to navigate the slows of the Platte River Parkway south of the river and just east of the Tate Pumphouse.

And before you navigate the rip rap at the Whitewater Park, you need to pick through the pot holes in the parking lot of the first trailhead of the pathway that winds for miles along the river.

The Platte River Parkway Trust plans to fix these and other problems, said Angela Emery, executive director of the nonprofit parkway organization.

"The Platte River Trails Trust is going to submit an application to the Wyoming Department of Transportation's TAP program to refurbish the trailhead facility at Amoco Park," Emery said Tuesday.

"It needs improvement. it's a heavily used area in a very strategic location. The lower lot is completely disorganized. There really is no handicapped van access or small bus access to that location at all."

The $411,000 project received its first funding Tuesday when the Natrona County Commission voted to approve $100,000 of Optional One Percent Sales Tax funds that had been dedicated several years ago.

The remaining funding will come from other local funding and a grant the organization will request from the transportation department's Transportation Alternatives Program, Emery said. "So this grant will support reconstruction of the lower lot as well as the trail on the north end of the parking area there."

After the Platte River Parkway Trust submits the grant on July 15, representatives of the Department of Transportation will visit the site in September. The department probably will notify the organization by November, giving time for paperwork and project design, with construction probably beginning in late summer 2015, she said.

"This project really will vastly improve safety and access in a park that is widely used by many people," Emery said.