Bellevue's Haworth Park doesn't look like a real park yet.
There's little grass, and benches remain twisted. The former marina is a tangled mess of metal.
Yet the park's rehabilitation is nearly finished after being closed since the Missouri River flood of 2011, and Haworth is now scheduled to reopen Memorial Day.
“People have really been asking, 'When is it going to open?' ” said Bellevue City Council President Don Preister. “It's obvious they want to get back into it.”
Bellevue residents are especially excited about the river access, he said.
“People want to get back to the river,” Preister said.
The cleanup efforts have cost about $2 million, mostly from the federal and state emergency management agencies.
“It still has a ways to go,” said interim Public Works Director Jeff Roberts.
It has come far, though. Water covered the park for three months after the flood. At one point, it reached high enough to submerge a basketball hoop.
When the water receded, it left as much as 2 feet of silt in some places. It also damaged the buildings and equipment.
The water suffocated many of the trees, and the ones that survived the original onslaught still might perish.
“It's going to take several years before it looks like it did before,” Roberts said.
It won't be exactly the same — the marina is closed permanently, unless a private company buys it from the city.
Plus the Children's Wall has been moved because it was about to fall in the river, and the rose trellis has been moved from the park.
There will also be some improvements. Campers will be able to reserve a spot online, and there will be a cashless kiosk where they can check in.
The city plans to bring the public boat ramp into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, though that probably won't be ready before Memorial Day.
Just north of Haworth Park is the new American Heroes Park, formerly Kramer Park, which will feature a 10-acre fishing lagoon and more grass. That might not be ready by Memorial Day, but officials hope to have it open soon after.
“We're creating a double park, essentially,” Preister said.
The repair took so long that many Bellevue residents feared the park would never reopen, said Bellevue Chamber of Commerce President Jim Ristow.
“Because of the devastation, it was kind of a long-term project,” he said.
The Memorial Day opening is tentative, Roberts said, and depends on the weather.
But Preister said, “I'm crossing my fingers and hopefully optimistic.”
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