Grounds and facilities around Smithville Lake are undergoing millions of dollars worth of updates after years of deferred maintenance left some facilities in much need of repair.
“It’s really exciting and I get super excited to talk about these projects because they’re things people have been asking about for a long time,” said Assistant Clay County Administrator for Facilities Brad Garrett. “... It’s exciting that we can finally get to those things.”
The following is a breakdown of major work underway. Work will continue on many projects throughout the year. Funds for projects are being mostly covered by the sale of $49 million in certificates of participation, a type of bonds, which a majority of the County Commission approved last year.
Throughout the Smithville Lake grounds, the county maintains two campgrounds: Camp Branch, located off Collins Road; and Crow’s Creek, located off Missouri Highway E. Between the two, there are a combined 770-plus campsites.
Sites include spaces for recreational vehicles with electrical hook-ups as well as primitive sites.
Campgrounds and other areas throughout Smithville Lake have been getting electrical upgrades in recent months and years and are continuing to receive improvements. Electrical upgrades to Sailboat Cove Marina, located off Chapel Road; and Little Platte Marina, located in Little Platte Park off Shelter Road at the lake, commenced after Labor Day of this year.
Assistant County Administrators Garrett and Nicole Brown said electrical work is ongoing at Camp Branch’s D Loop and Crow’s Creek’s E, F and G Loops.
Shore erosion is also being rectified with bond funds.
“Shore stabilization with rip rap will continue for a couple years,” said Brown, calling it a top priority.
Tons of beach sand has also been added to swim beaches at the lake.
New playground equipment in Little Platte Park, located off Shelter Road at the lake, Brown said, was a hit with children and families during a ribbon-cutting earlier this year.
“It was a really successful event where we had a lot of families come out,” she said.
Clay County maintains dozens of miles of trails around Smithville Lake, all of which will see improvements with bond funding. Updates include bringing all trailheads up to modern standards. Future work, being planned as part of the parks master planning process, which kicked off this summer, will include trail connectivity.
“Our long-term goal, what we are working to do, is to get all miles of trails around the water at the lake connected,” said Garrett.
The county is also working to construct an archery range at the Kelsey Short area of Smithville Lake off Collins Road in Smithville; and a new nature center and park office at Smithville Lake.
To follow along with project progress, the county has made a bond project tracker timeline available on the transparency portal of the county’s website at www.claycountymo.gov.