New lights show off the new trees and the flags at the Avenue of Flags at First and Stout.
New lights are shining on the Avenue of Flags at First and Stout. Lights are also illuminating new trees at this Pratt park.
The lights were installed July 20 and are part of an on-going upgrade of the park made possible through a generous and anonymous donation, said Mark Eckhoff, Pratt Parks Superintendent.
Each of the nine flags and the eight trees has its own 12 volt LED at the base. The new trees are red bud and soap berry and were suggested by the landscape company that designed the new layout.
The next addition to the site will be a sign that lists all 20 of Pratt's parks. The new sign will sit on a concrete base that is already in place at the north end of the row of flags. The sign will be placed between two posts on the 16 feet by 16 feet slab and will be installed later in the year when the temperature is lower, Eckhoff said.
The previous changes to the site included two concrete planter boxes, a handicapped access ramp plus a couple of new entrances to the area. Dozens of flowers were put in the planter boxes along with the eight trees and several shrubs. Flowers were donated and are tulips and hyacinths.
Work on the upgrade started in December 2015. Arensdorf construction did the concrete work. Eckhoff installed the new lights.
Possible future plans for the site include a plaque with the names of the donors.
The Avenue of Flags was originally built in 1976 for the U.S. Bicentennial. It was actually completed in 1975 so it would be in place for the bicentennial. The Pratt Bicentennial Committee raised the money for the park.
Railroaders did most of the concrete work and local resident Bob Epp had a big hand in the project as did railroader LeRoy Wells.
A rock monument with the words "Pratt Municipal Parks" sat on the north side of the park for many years. It was removed to the park's work building where it remains today with no plans for it in the future.
Also on the north end of the park was a replica of the Statue of Liberty on a concrete pedestal. Originally, the statue was located in front of the Boy Scout cabin at Third and Rochester. It was one of 200 small replicas found in 31 states, plus one in Puerto Rico, to honor the 40th anniversary of the Boy Scouts in 1950. There are 25 in Kansas. Area statues are in Pratt, Kingman, Medicine Lodge and St. John. The statues are 8.5 feet tall, without the base, are made of sheet copper, weigh 290 pounds and cost $350 each plus freight, according to information from Wikipedia.
Eckhoff said he wasn't sure why the statue was moved to the park but he thought it might have been done for the bicentennial.
As part of the upgrade to the Avenue of Flags, the statue was returned to the front lawn of the Boy Scout Cabin, about a half a block from the Avenue.