Located on the northwest edge of town, Keller’s Pond is a great place to have a picnic lunch, go for a walk, or catch some fish.
If you haven’t been to Keller’s Pond recently, you might not be aware of the many changes that have been made over the past year. Thanks to several grant awards, the recreation site now has a walking trail completely around both east and west ponds, a new walking bridge, young shade trees, and rest stops with benches. The long-term goal is to make Keller’s Pond a scenic destination for fishing, walking, jogging, and picnics and also to create a walking path between the River Walk and the ponds.
In addition to the improvements made with grant funds, Cheyenne County crews worked to clear out the debris and cattails in the east pond so that it can be more easily accessed for fishing. Brock McAtee Construction was contracted to do the majority of the trail creation work.
The work was spearheaded by Tom Keller, property owner, starting in 2015. The Sunflower Foundation offers a Trail Expansion Grant on a periodic basis. Mr. Keller knew that this grant could help fund something great to make the ponds more accessible for recreational use. Since the land is leased perpetually to the City of St. Francis, the city could apply for grant funding. Carol Sloper, then county grant writer, submitted applications to various potential funders.
The city earmarked $5,000 of the operating budget for 2017 for the project. The Sunflower Foundation awarded the city $32,340 towards the improvement. As a matching grant, the Dane G. Hansen Foundation awarded $25,000 for the trail creation. The balance of the funding required to complete the project was provided by Bill and Cindy Keller through a donation to the Cheyenne County Kansas Community Foundation.
The next phase of improvements will include creating a handicapped accessible parking lot and potentially adding additional shade areas.
The adjacent Scenic Republican River Walk offers a nature trail approximately 1 mile in length. A foot path (not ADA accessible) links the River Walk to Keller’s Pond. Enjoy the sounds of the flowing water, birds, and nearby cattle and horses as you hike next to the river and cross a foot bridge.