Now that a multi-million dollar renovation project has nearly been completed at Fontenelle Park, some sewer systems in Omaha will be able to handle heavy rains much better.
In the span of six years, Fontenelle Park has transformed from a nine-hole golf course to a scenic park that helps keeps parts of Omaha from flooding.
Project manager at Omaha Public Works, Adam Wilmes, says the lagoon is over two and half times larger than before and can now take in much more stormwater, easing pressure on the sometimes saturated city sewer system.
"It reduces flow of the combined system from the area that goes through Fontentelle Park by about 80 percent,” says Adam Wilmes, project manager, Omaha Public Works Department.
Construction of the lagoon was over $7 million and the city will pay an additional $5.6 million dollars to finish up the nearby sewers that feed into Fontenelle Park.
"Things are actually still taking place this year and will next year but we wanted to get the park done first so it could handle the water and now we're just working to complete it and make sure we get all that water there," says Wilmes.
The city has added park amenities over the last few years with an extended walking path and large picnic areas
The city has made an effort to draw the public to the park too, adding a walking path and large picnic areas over the last few years and will stock the water with fish.
"The vision for that park for when we were going to convert it from a golf course is to have a large green-space in that part of town, passive recreational use, not a real structured environment," says John Williams, landscape architect, Omaha Parks Department.
Including Fontenelle, the Public Works and the Parks department have joined forces on over a half dozen parks and both sides say it's something they are looking to continue.
"We both benefit. They get the storm water reduction benefit and separation of the system and then we reek the benefits of improved park space, whether it's lagoon, green-space improvements or what have you," says Williams.
While all the renovations were going on, the park never closed. They made a distinct effort to make at least parts of the park open during all the renovations.