Community leaders push for Van Dorn Park updates

Van Dorn Park is one of the many busy parks in Lincoln, and community leaders want to continue to update the park before its 100th anniversary in August.
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(KLKN) Lincoln, Neb. — Van Dorn Park is one of the many busy parks in Lincoln, and community leaders want to continue to update the park before its 100th anniversary in August.

“This park, which has been sadly, neglected for years, is coming back to life,” said Diane Walkowiak.

Lincoln Parks and Recreation with the help of community members have updated Van Dorn Park, just last year updating the playground and putting in a mountain bike trail a few years before.

Now that the 100th anniversary of the park is to be celebrated on August 8th, a Lincoln woman told the city council Monday, more changes need to be made.

“A few years ago, Parks and Rec began using the west side of the park as a material storage area,” said Walkowiak, for the Indian Village Neighborhood Association. “It started with a few piles of wood chips but it’s grown to consume five acres of parkland, killing off park trees and laying waste to nearly a fifth of the park.”

The planning and facilities manager says the material storage area is in Van Dorn park because there is no other space in the center of the city to put the debris.

“It’s in a passive area of the park and (it is) where we don’t encourage the public (to go),” said JJ Yost. “We have a good size park here, and so given this central location, it’s a facility we need just to continue our park operations.”

Although he is open to moving it, Yost says it serves as a deterrent to bad activities happening in the space.

“Those kinds of secluded areas in parks tend to have, tend to be the place, where the unwanted activities happen so having the materials storage there is maybe a good alternate use.”

Another update Walkowiak wants is a traffic sign for the safety of bikers and pedestrians near South 10th and High street.

Yost said, “Because of the lights at this intersection and the next intersection down, you have to be careful how many lights you have in a certain period, a certain distance of the road, so you don’t have people stopped at one light backing up the intersection.”

He adds once the South Beltway is open, a sign or light in the area will be up for discussion but it could be a while.

Yost says Parks and Recreation will continue to work with the community as they update the park.

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