View Full Version : Arcadia Lake Development Plan

08-20-2004, 12:01 AM
Looks like Arcadia Lake may be transformed into something similar to East Wharf on Lake Hefner! Although I like Wast Wharf, I hope the city of Edmond follows through completely with their project.....unfortunately, our Lake Hefner Project was completed how many people had hoped.

"Developing Arcadia Lake
by Janice Francis-Smith
The Journal Record

Journal Record Photo
Today, visitors to Arcadia Lake are far more likely to be wearing lake shoes than dress shoes - the popular Edmond attraction features recreational activities such as boating and swimming, but little else.
However, the City of Edmond is seeking proposals from developers who would build restaurants, marinas, business/convention centers, hotels, retreat centers, or "any kind of amenity that's currently not offered out there," said Troy Powell, director of operations with Edmond's city manager's office.

"We just felt like it was time to try to expand the recreational opportunities at the lake beyond just your traditional fishing and boating, to the rest of the residents of Edmond that might not have a boat or might just want to go out to eat or stay in a cabin or something like that," said Powell. "What better way to do that than to partner with the private sector?"

Located right off of Interstate 35 in southeastern Edmond, Arcadia Lake is a 1,725-acre reservoir with a depth of between 17 and 49 feet, about 26 miles of shoreline and a watershed area of 105 square miles. Since the time the lake opened in 1987, Arcadia has been a popular spot for boating, fishing and camping, and is unique in that it is the only municipal water supply reservoir in Oklahoma County that allows swimming.

Edmond officials have identified five different areas around the lake for development, each measuring between 51.4 acres and 176.16 acres. All five of the development areas include "a 200-foot buffer where that piece of land touches the lake," said Powell. Altogether, a total of 575 acres are available, though none are contiguous, and city leaders expect developers to submit proposals for just one or two of the areas.

The only kind of development specifically exempted is a golf course, so as not to compete with the city's own Kickingbird Golf Club. Also, the land is not suitable for a residential development since the city is leasing the land from the Army Corp of Engineers and plans to sublease to commercial developers. But other than that, the sky's the limit for developers to come up with something exciting and new.

"We left it very open, because we want the developers to be creative," said Powell. "We're not going to turn anything down right off the bat, you know, if something good comes up. The most important thing is that it fits in with the natural area of the lake, that it feels like it's part of the lake. We want it to fit in, because the lake is not any good if it doesn't have the rural, kind of natural feel to it."

Though city officials were influenced by Oklahoma City's development of the area around Hefner Lake and Park, Powell said Edmond has something a little different in mind for Arcadia Lake.

"We want to go in a little bit different direction than they have - not quite so densely developed," said Powell. "We want to keep ours a little bit more rural and natural than Hefner is, but Hefner provides a great opportunity for people to go and eat and relax and enjoy the lake without actually having to have a boat or get in and swim." Like Hefner Lake, Arcadia Lake will have walking trails in addition to restaurants and other attractions.

"The City reserves the right to award this contract, not necessarily to the firm with the lowest cost, but to the firm that best meets the requirements and needs of the City as determined according to the evaluation criteria," reads the city's request for proposals. Firms will be judged on organization, services, participant education, staff qualifications, investment flexibility and cost/fees.

"Qualified developers must have significant experience and a demonstrated ability to develop successful, high quality commercial lake projects," reads the RFP. "Qualified developers will have experience working in public/private partnerships and working effectively with community groups." The recreational facilities currently available at the lake are to be impacted as little as possible during and after construction. The entire area is currently zoned as general agriculture; all zoning changes are the responsibility of the developer.

The RFP will close at 2 p.m. Central Time on Sept. 16, 2004. By then, the city will have assembled a committee to review the proposals and interview the developers whose proposals are selected. At the earliest, proposals could be presented to the Edmond City Council on Oct. 25. "But that might get pushed back depending on the committee and what they think and how much more information we want We're not in any rush," said Powell.

"We would like to see construction hopefully start within a year of when we award the proposal, but a lot of it depends on what they're building," he said. "If they're building a restaurant, that might be a little more complicated to build than say if they were building cabins or something like that. And they're obviously going to have to fit in with all our requirements for building and our standards for that. So they're going to have to go through the process just like any other developer would, and that process can take some time."