LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — An important Las Vegas landmark is turning into a park that’s worth the trip, thanks to an infusion of funds for public lands projects.

The park at historic Kiel Ranch is only about half done, but the recent completion of boardwalk-style paths around the spring has breathed life into the project, on Carey Avenue just west of Losee Road in North Las Vegas.

“The whole focus of that park is to remember our roots,” said North Las Vegas Parks Director Cass Palmer. The artesian spring provided water for what has become a metropolis of 2.2 million people, and an adobe structure that is believed to be the oldest building in Southern Nevada is among the park’s attractions.

At one point, a dude ranch for people staying long enough to get a divorce operated at the site.

A walk around the spring is a journey into the valley’s past — if you can imagine it without the industrial buildings that surround the site. Dragonflies and birds swoop over the pond, which is surrounded by reeds that sway with the wind. Big cottonwood trees line the pond.

Over the next two years, the 7-acre park will double in size as the west edge is developed out to Commerce Street. A playground and more parking along Carey Avenue are planned with more funding from the BLM and the Southern Nevada Public Lands Act (SNPLA). So far, $5.1 million in development at the site has come from SNPLA funds dating back to 2010.

An account of the site from 2005 describes a weed-choked spring that had languished in the years since the site was purchased in 1974, a showpiece bought with funds for projects for the nation’s bicentennial in 1976. Within two years, 22 acres of the original 27-acre site had been sold off for development. A mansion at the site burned in 1992, and a commitment to preserve the site finally came in 2010.