OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Saturday to celebrate the opening Dom's Park at Chalco Hills Recreation Area.
The playground is named after 4-year-old Dominik (Dom) Walters, who died in 2018 after suffering a cardiac arrest while doing cannonballs off a dock with his father near the family cabin in Minnesota.
The Walters family often visited the Chalco Hills Recreation Area to explore the area or use the playgrounds. To carry on the memory of their son, the family talked to the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District about donating funds for a new playground at Chalco Hills that children throughout the community could enjoy.
The Papio NRD Board of Directors was open to the idea and voted to approve cost share for the purchase and installation of the facility.
Dom's Park eventually opened last month and replaced playground equipment that was over 30 years old.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to share Dom’s Park with our family, friends, and community,” said Ryan and Tiffany Walters, Dom's parents. “Seeing Dom’s Park completed, packed with children and their families, is incredible.”
Papio NRD general manager John Winkler said the park has already been a smashing success.
“The Walters turned unimaginable tragedy into a positive. Since Dom’s Park opened, to say it’s been a tremendous hit would be an understatement," Winkler said. "Dom’s Park is an incredible tribute to Dom and gift to the Omaha community that will last for years to come,” said Winkler.
The cost of the playground equipment and installation at Dom's Park totaled $279,071. It was paid for through donations to the Dominik Walters Memorial Fund, a matching grant by playground equipment company BCI Burke Company, and the Papio NRD.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to every person who supported us in making Dom’s Park possible," said the Walters, who have lived in Nebraska since 2007. “Chalco Hills was one of Dominik’s favorite places and we could not imagine Dom’s Park being located anywhere else. We are grateful beyond words to the Papio NRD for believing in our vision and helping make Dom’s Park a reality."
Dom’s Park is located in the northwest corner of Chalco Hills Recreation Area near Picnic Area A.