McReynolds family gifts land to County for public park along Saline River
The plan for a new public park for picnics, camping and fishing near the Saline River just south of Lincoln, KS, is moving forward.
Steve and Marion McReynolds transferred the deed for approximately 4.7 acres in Indiana and Elkhorn townships, near the river dam and site of the old Rees Mill, to the Board of County Commissioners on Monday, April 26, 2021. This gift from the McReynolds family to the County will allow for a new waterfront park for outdoor recreation called “McReynolds Park.”
Although the tract has been part of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Public Fishing Lands access program, Steve’s father, John McReynolds, envisioned the area being a park as early as the 1960’s. He had schematic plans drawn up in 1972, but the project did not come to be at that time.
Fast forward nearly 50 years and plans for the park were renewed in the spring of 2019 as part of a Strategic Doing committee that created an Active Living Master Plan for various healthy living projects across Lincoln County such as trails and park improvements. Download the Healthy Living Master Plan (PDF)
The proposed McReynolds Park would offer easier access to the river for fishing and a large green space for activities and parking. The park may also accommodate three primitive camping sites with tent pads, picnic tables and mounted grills.
Since the Active Living Master Plan was completed, the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation has continued to facilitate forward progress on the McReynolds Park project. Thanks to a generous grant in late 2020 from the Lincoln County Health Department, surveys were completed to prepare to transfer the land from the McReynolds family to Lincoln County. In early 2021, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners agreed to move forward with accepting the donated land, and the necessary legal work was recently completed.
The next steps include applying for grants and fundraising for local matching funds so that improvements can begin later this year.
Now is a great time to get involved in helping the McReynolds Park become a public park for all to enjoy the outdoors and the historic mill area on the Saline River dam just south of Lincoln. There are two ways to help:
Volunteer! A planning committee is being organized to help with the logistics of improvements and scheduling work days. In the future, community work days will be organized to help clear brush, cut trees, and create paths among other needs. The first volunteer committee planning meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 26th, at 5:00 p.m., at the proposed park (south side of the dam).
Donate! Contributions may be made to the McReynolds Park project by sending a check made out to “Lincoln County EDF,” with McReynolds Park in the memo, to Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation, 216 E. Lincoln Ave, Lincoln, KS 67455. This special fund will be used to general local matching funds for larger grant applications.
Questions may be directed to Bree McReynolds-Baetz at the Citizens State Bank & Trust Co., at 785-524-4840.
See historic mill photos, 1972 plans, and 2019 proposed plan photos below.