By Ashley Neese
June 7, 2022

Arcadia Lake improvement plan continues

The City hired a consultant to gather public feedback and provide upgrade recommendations for Arcadia Lake.
Mayor Darrell Davis speaks at Arcadia Lake partnership announcement. (Photo: Tim Priebe)

The City of Edmond’s investment in Arcadia Lake is progressing as officials recently hired LandPlan Consultants and secured funding for the project. More than $2 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act has been designated to support the infrastructure investment. 

“Tourism is an important economic driver for our city, and the attraction with maybe the most far-reaching potential is Arcadia Lake,” Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis. “What it already offers makes it a special regional draw, and with input from our residents and potential visitors beyond Edmond, the lake will only grow in value and stature. This endeavor is an investment in our future.”

The groundwork for the project’s strategic plan was developed by a local task force in early 2021, which included representatives from various amenities, commercial real estate agent Chris Palmer, local business representative Caleb McCaleb, and City Councilman Josh Moore. 

Top priorities in the strategic plan include infrastructure improvements, park cleanup, and technology upgrades. Aspirations and dreams listed in the overview include additional economic development like a restaurant and shop, an outdoor recreation park, and retreat lodging. 

“Arcadia Lake is a wonderful amenity for Edmond… It’s located in the Cross Timbers Forest, fronts historic Route 66, and is ten minutes from our downtown,” said Moore. “All of these qualities are something that would pique any investor’s interest. It certainly piqued the interest of thousands of new visitors during the pandemic.”

The founding of the Arcadia Lake Task Force was driven by the increased usage, even to park capacity, of lake amenities over the 2020-2021 season. Not only was local traffic increasing, but the lake became a destination for residents from areas outside of Edmond. 

Josh Moore, a member of the Arcadia Lake Task Force, speaks at the announcement event. (Photo: Tim Priebe)

With the increased tourism and one-time government funding, the task force and the City of Edmond saw an opportunity for economic growth. This was a chance for Edmond to bring in more visitors by improving facilities, adding amenities, and bringing in local businesses. 

“When we’re looking for something to invest in as a city council, Arcadia Lake fits the bill as a project that will generate a return on investment in tourism dollars, while also providing a unique outdoor experience for our own residents,” said Moore. “It’s hard to go wrong with that. We see an opportunity at Arcadia Lake to truly make something better than we found it.” 

Now that the strategy overview is complete, LandPlan Consultants will review the ideas from the overview, along with feedback to be collected from residents and visitors at the lake, and provide recommendations to the City of Edmond. According to the company’s president, their goal is to create a regional destination with a low impact on the environment and a high impact on people. 

Once LandPlan surveys lake visitors, they will create a master plan, present it to the City of Edmond, and provide implementation plans for improvement and development at Arcadia Lake. 

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About Ashley Neese

Ashley Neese currently serves as editor of Edmond Business and a freelancer specializing in overall communication strategy. She previously served as the communications and marketing manager at the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce, where she promoted chamber events, helped members gain exposure, and spearheaded the Edmond Young Professionals organization, as well as the Chamber’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

An Edmond native, Ashley graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2017 with a degree in Strategic Communications. In her free time, she enjoys brewing coffee and finding the best local eats.