The Altus City Reservoir attracts 50-75 people on any given day. This includes walkers, joggers, bikers, families, etc., as it is right now. How many people and families would the City Reservoir attract if it were developed to be more, to serve as more for the community? The citizens of Altus, and families of the Altus Air Force Base, have been starving for that thing, that feature, that would really make the small town a more special place, and make them even prouder to be here.
A photo of a concept, created by Mindy Smiley, Artist and Loran Mayes, Owner of the How-to-Palace, of what the Altus City Reservoir could look like has been making its way around Facebook, generating chatter, and getting a lot of feedback. It’s proving true that the people of Altus would like to see something done with the “diamond in the rough.”
A “diamond in the rough” is exactly what Altus City Manager David Fuqua called the Altus City Reservoir when he was only a prospect for the position, and being toured around town by Mayor Jack Smiley.
“David said you’ve got to do something with this, and that got the wheels turning in my head,” Mayor Smiley said. “We want to make the reservoir useful again, make it what it was intended for in the beginning.”
Making the Reservoir what it was originally intended for means making it useful as a 30-90 day emergency supply of water. That process would entail dredging the silt from the bottom of the Reservoir, making it deeper so that it can hold not only an increased quantity of water ,but also a better quality of water, with the source being Tom Steed. However, that is only the beginning.
More water and a superior quality of water, provides greater water security for a typically water challenged town. In addition, there is also a recreation side of this vision including, but not limited to, an amphitheater, adding sand for a beach area, exercise stations, a splash pad, more picnic areas, hook-ups for food trucks, seating next to a waterfall, renting of paddle boards, and so much more.
Could you imagine, having food trucks at the Reservoir, a band planning at the amphitheater, and a place for your family to sit and picnic one day after work or on the weekend?
That could be possible in Altus.
“Nothing is set in stone, it’s simply a concept,” said Smiley. “We have a vision to make it a destination, a place people want to go to.”
Mayor Smiley and City Manager Fuqua say the motto behind this concept is to, “not let your resources limit your vision.” Everyone who has come to the table on this idea and project have truly met at a common place. They all share big visions and have had a dream for years of seeing the Reservoir become something more, a true staple of Altus.
“The first time I saw the Reservoir I said this should be the center of the town and on the front of brochures. It’s cool but it’s a shame at the same time,” said Chris Riffle, City Councilman.
There are countless benefits for the Altus citizens and businesses, and for the members and families of the Altus Air Force Base.
“This project has the potential to be transformational for the City of Altus and the surrounding area, and it is the type of project that will benefit the current business community, while also providing opportunities to attract new businesses to town,” said Brian Bush, President and CEO of the Altus Chamber of Commerce.
“It represents so many end roads where we should strive to thrive; health and wellness, sense of community, economic development and commerce, relationship with the base, and our obligation to provide a quality of life for the Air Force families,” said Riffle.
A concept, taken beyond words and put into a physical visual, of what developing and improving the Altus City Reservoir could produce, has stirred up a lot of genuine excitement across the board. It has naturally, and effortlessly, drawn different parties together.
“Our goal is to have something we can all be proud of and all use, all ages,” said Mayor Smiley.
City Manager Fuqua added, “We are not taking money from any departments. We are going to find funds available in grants.”
Funding is always a big concern when any city takes on a project, and it has been made clear by the Mayor and City Manager of Altus that there is no money for this, but a lack of resources will not discourage the vision and the efforts to see the vision become a reality.
Grant money is available for walking trails, for splash pads, for projects that promote fitness and well being for Air Force families, as well as other grants.
“I am excited to see so many community leaders already uniting behind this grand vision, and I am honored to be part of the group that is working to determine the proper scope and funding source for the project. It is my intention to see that this project is completed as quickly as possible so we can start enjoying all the benefits that come with it,” said Bush.
The want and need for a project of this magnitude is here.
“The Reservoir project would do a lot for morale here as a community, and coincides well with the new form of government,” Riffle said. “We’ve got to do something good together, and this is an opportunity.”
The future is looking very bright for the City of Altus with the ability to dream big and join together for a common cause.
Reach Tinita at email@example.com