After more than 15 months of improvements and construction, Lake Atalanta in Rogers is once again open to the public. Before we go any further, if you’re thinking I made a typo in the name, I didn’t. It is Atalanta with an extra “a,” not Atlanta.
Lake Atalanta is named for Atalanta Gregory, the wife of O.L. Gregory, who donated most of the land that now forms this dammed reservoir along Prairie Creek. Certainly a unique name, it likely comes from Greek mythology, in which Atalanta was a beautiful and swift-footed huntress.
Built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration, it once contained a restaurant, swimming pool, ice skating rink, boat rentals, tennis course, miniature golf and more. It was not only a city park, but a destination for tourists. Over the years, some of those amenities fell into disrepair.
Today, Lake Atalanta has been restored to its glory, and is once again worthy of such an interesting name.
This treasured green space has primarily always been used for recreation, although it was a water source at one point in time as well.
It’s latest updates do not disappoint those who enjoy connecting to nature. You can now stroll a new paved trail that circles the lake. A new boardwalk stretches out over the water with “bump out” areas for fishing. The renovated stream is great for cooling off in. New playground structures offer plenty of adventure while a serenity garden offers, well, serenity. There are 10 miles of hiking trails and off-road mountain biking trails for all skill levels.
Solar powered emergency call boxes have been installed. Water quality improvements were made by dredging out old sediment from years of siltation. Pavilions have been improved too, including Clark Pavilion, which has long been popular as a rental for birthday parties, reunions, and other groups.
So get out there and explore this historic WPA park, originally built to offer employment to jobless residents during the Great Depression. It became the centerpiece of a large city park then, and will certainly serve the community in its renovated state for years to come.
The park is located at 500 E. Walnut. The city even raised the height of Walnut Avenue so pedestrian trails could be built underneath the road.