Casper City Council on Tuesday approved and received the donation of nearly seven acres of property along the North Platte River for the development of the area from the Poplar Street bridge to the BNSF bridge.

"This is a very significant matter in terms of Casper's long-term health along the river," council member Charlie Powell said.

"If we can pull this off, it's really going to be a beautiful addition to Casper's downtown area and riverfront, and it's going to create access for the citizens in an area where there really hasn't been access," Powell said.

The nonprofit Platte River Trails Trust donated the 6.93 acres so the city could receive public funding, if offered, for the project to clean and preserve the river bend and banks, expand the wetlands, construct a parking lot and boat ramp, and replace the trail, according to the real estate agreement between the two entities.

The city has the Platte River Revival Advisory Committee that has plans similar to that of the Trails Trust, according to the agreement.

In October, the next phase of the revival project began in earnest with the rebuilding of the banks between the First Street and Poplar Street bridges.

Tom Morton, Townsquare Media
Tom Morton, Townsquare Media

Meanwhile last fall, the city applied for a grant of up to $500,000 from the Wyoming Business Council to help pay for the project, but the Business Council turned down the request.

"To receive the grant funding, the real property that is currently owned by the Donor needs to be donated to the Donee because all property improved with Wyoming Business Council grant funding must be publicly owned," according to the agreement.

The city has indicated it will apply again for the grant.

The Platte River Trails Trust hopes the city will receive the grant funding.

But if it doesn't have the project completed in four years, the agreement states the city must return the property to the trust, according to the agreement.

The trust also has other conditions that the city must meet in the meantime:

  • Keep a clear viewshed of the river, especially by preventing the overgrowth of willows.
  • Keep the names of the Burlington Northern Park and the Tate picnic areas.
  • Repair any damage caused by any improvement work.
  • Replace the trail by the project from West First Street and the BNSF bridge.
  • Receive non-binding advice from the trust about the design of the boat ramp.
  • Acknowledge the donation with publicity and signs.
  • Abide by the terms and conditions of the 1986 quitclaim deed from the Burlington Northern Railroad Co. to the trust.
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