In 1962, a 97 acre park was established in a western part of Manhattan through a joint development by Riley County, the City of Manhattan and U.S.D. 383. The park was named "CiCo Park," to represent the joint city and county ownership of the park.

The Riley County Board of Commissioners authorized a county park ad valorem tax levy to raise funds for county park improvements in 1965. The recent development of CiCo Park and the desire to assist small cities improve their local parks prompted the Commission to establish this fund.

A County Park Advisory Board was appointed by the Commission to make recommendations concerning park improvements in Riley County.

The Riley County Parks Department was officially established in 1981 when the Board of County Commissioners appointed a Park Director to administer the county park fund and manage the operation of three county owned parks. The Parks Department is assigned the task of improving the county park system and providing financial support for enhancing the quality of the local parks in each of the five incorporated cities of Riley County.