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City parks like N.P. Dodge Park flooded again: What clean up will look like when it's time

Posted at 6:01 PM, Jul 02, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Although the river didn't get as high as initially expected the impact on the neighboring parks is still apparent. Flooding is a familiar struggle at N.P. Dodge Park, especially over the last few years, but it's that experience that will lead the effort to clean up when it's time.


As the rain keeps coming down, it's a waiting game for the parks department.

"That water is not expected to be there nearly as long as it was in 2011 or 2019 that was definitely part of what impacted things on the extreme level that it did," said Matt Kalcevich, director for parks, recreation and public property for the City of Omaha.

Kalcevich the director of the department says lessons from those floods were implemented from the start of this year’s flood, moving features, sectioning off areas they knew could be impacted and getting the word out to neighbors who might visit.

But he says with the water now receding they'll learn a little more.

“The cleanup is hard to anticipate until everything is gone and there will be a mess and there will be some damage and those are things that we will just have to access, and it's a, it's a waiting game and time will tell about when those things happen, how things were actually impacted,” Kalcevich said.

Once they can get in the spaces safely, clean-up can begin.

"Things landing in our area, we will clean up, you know, physical large debris and then nature will have to be part of our support process in a space as big as these parks with sun and rain and time," Kalcevich said.

They will work with public works and the city’s environmental team throughout the process.

I spoke with Jim Theiler with Omaha Public Works on the phone, he says the amount of wastewater that went into the Missouri is so little compared to the amount of water that the bacteria likely can't be measured, but, "the health officials are the ones that are responsible for making the call on the cleanup that they feel is necessary,” Theiler said.

Other features along the river, like the Monument To Labor, will be looked at too. Kalcevich is optimistic that the department's standard cleaning procedures will be enough to restore it this time.

And he knows flooding could happen at any time.

"We know what we know about how to deal with that and we are prepared to do whatever we need to do every day to take care of our parks in the best way possible to allow people to keep enjoying them to their fullest," Kalcevich said.

It shouldn't come as a surprise but with so much work to be done, the marina will not be open for the Fourth of July.

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