(Stew Dyer, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — On Sept. 19, the Casper City Council approved the North Platte River Park No. 2 Simple Master Plan, marking a step in the city’s economic and recreational development. Crafted by the Casper Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, and consulting firm Ayres Associates Inc., the plan outlines the future of 111.5 acres of vacant city-owned land near the Ford Wyoming Center and east of Interstate 25.

The study was one of three reports from the MPO accepted by the council at this week’s City Council meeting on Sept. 19, alongside the Casper Area Transit Electric Fleet Conversion Study and the Evansville East Sidewalk and Trail Study.

The master plan aims to guide the development of this key area, with a focus on establishing land use, analyzing infrastructure needs and offering implementation strategies. The plan received prior endorsements from the MPO Technical Committee on Sept. 8 and the Policy Committee on Sept. 14.

Financial backing for the project is primarily sourced from the MPO, which allocated $24,000 from the Federal Consolidated Planning Grant last year. This final approval empowers the city to act as the fiscal agent for the MPO, securing all necessary plans for the project.

Positioned near significant attractions like the Ford Wyoming Center and the Bureau of Land Management’s National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, the area holds tremendous economic potential.

“This plan seeks to identify preferred uses to ensure that as incremental development takes place, local leaders can shape progress to be additive toward a common and inspired vision,” the plan states.

The city aims to leverage existing attractions and prepare for the forthcoming Wyoming Sports Ranch. The development is seen as an opportunity to enhance Casper’s economy and showcase local values.

While specific financial details are still under discussion, previous steps for similar projects suggest potential avenues. In August, the council instructed city staff to apply for a Community Readiness Grant and Loan for the project.

The North Platte River Park Master Plan fits into the city’s broader objectives, as outlined in the 2020 update of the Long Range Transportation Plan: Connecting Crossroads.

The memo and plan can be found below.