City breaks ground on Wells Park renovation project

The city of Henderson broke ground on renovations to Wells Park March 31.

"Usually when we hold a groundbreaking ceremony, it is to celebrate a new park," said Mary Ellen Donner, director of the city’s parks and recreation department . "Today, we are celebrating a new beginning of Wells Park, which has served the community for decades."

According to Michelle Romero, the redevelopment agency redevelopment manager for Henderson, the city was considering a new park but discovered through a series of town meetings that residents would rather have improvements made to Wells Park, 1640 Price St.

"One thing I think we do well is we listen," Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen said. "We had some neighborhood meetings and just listened to residents."

Romero said the request to improve the park instead of creating a new one follows the redevelopment agency’s philosophy to enhance more mature areas in the city.

Because Wells Park is inside the Eastside Redevelopment District, the city was able to use money specifically allocated for improvement projects.

"We are in an economic crunch," Hafen said. "We are able to push forward and do these improvements with very little impact on our budget. We are pleased to be able to do that."

The improvement project costs $1.8 million and goes to the continued effort to revitalize and redevelop the area.

"It’s generated tax increment funds that have to be invested back into this area," Romero said about where the money came from. "Those funds have to stay within the Eastside Redevelopment Area. They are directly invested right back in here. It’s the increased values that are naturally going up from other improvements that have gone on. Those (values) are captured and put back into the neighborhood."

An improvement project worked out more favorably for the budget, considering fewer parks are being built in Clark County because of budget issues.

The project also serves the Henderson Boys & Girls Club, which resides next to the park and uses its amenities .

The ground breaking ceremony also included about 15 students from Hinman Elementary School, 450 E. Merlayne Drive, who presented a history of Wells Park and the Pittman area it is in .

The park has been around nearly 40 years and has undergone several improvements, including the additions of shade covers over the playground.

"It will take about a year to get improvements done," Hafen said.

Romero said that when the project is done, new features should include a splash pad for children, a life-size chess board, more shade structures, a spiral slide in the pool, a climbing wall, a skate board area, an exercise track, a gaming plaza and many more features.

"Wells Park serves as a focal point for this historic neighborhood and surrounding area," Councilwoman Kathleen Boutin said. "It is great that we are able to add the outdoor recreational amenities residents wanted at a time when few civic entities are funding parks."

Contact Henderson and Anthem View reporter Michael Lye at mlyle@viewnews.com or 387-5201.

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