Olsson Associates


Olsson wins APWA chapter award for Sar-Ko-Par project

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Suzanne Small, Marketing

The Sar-Ko-Par Park Lake Restoration project in Lenexa, Kansas, was selected as the Kansas City chapter of the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) 2013 Public Works Project of the Year in the “Environmental Less Than $5 Million” category. The chapter-level award will be presented at the chapter’s National Public Works Week Luncheon, which will occur the week of May 19-25, 2013. This project also moves on to the national APWA for consideration.

The Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park Lake Restoration project involved a wide variety of engineering, architectural, environmental, and recreational planning. It also included many design and construction aspects that, all combined, made it a successful project for the City of Lenexa. Located at 87th and Lackman, the lake is a central piece of Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park and has several very important functions within the city. Its most prominent function is its history as a community park that brings thousands of people together for enjoyment and celebration. The park’s function as an event space truly makes it a “front porch” for Lenexa, as people from far beyond the city’s borders attend festivals and events here.

Adding to its “front porch” function, and no less important, is the park’s role as a destination resource for Lenexa residents. Citizens from all over the city frequent the park for its aquatic center, skate park, trails, shelters, picnic areas, and playgrounds. The park also has a proud history of displaying public art, most notably statues and sculptures in and around the body of the lake.

Over the last 40 to 50 years, the lake’s watershed has urbanized and undergone many changes, resulting in heavy lake sedimentation and impaired water quality. These changes have affected both aquatic habitat and recreational boating and fishing activities. The lake’s original, maximum depth was near 20 feet. However, in 2010, before this restoration project began, the lake depth ranged from a few inches to a maximum of five feet. Additionally, the dam and spillway systems were deteriorating and eroding, presenting the potential for dam failure and downstream hazards. The lake shorelines were also suffering erosion and sloughing, which posed safety concerns and negatively affected park patrons’ use and enjoyment of the lake. Therefore, the city’s purpose and goals in undertaking this unique lake restoration project were as follows:

  • Restore water depth in the lake for improved fisheries, clarity, and water quality.
  • Maximize the protection of lake water quality in the future through wetland vegetation and forebays.
  • Improve the dam and spillway conditions.
  • Improve access to and around the lake for patron enjoyment.
  • Restore/repair failing shorelines to improve fish habitat, fishing access, water access, and geese control.
  • Address and improve the relationship between the park site/pond and the major festivals for which it is used on an annual basis.
  • Improve the pond’s aesthetic appeal by creating opportunities for continuing Lenexa’s strong investment in public art.
  • Improve the view of the water and dam from 87th Street as a “front door” feature for the park. This improvement would match the park’s value as the “front porch” of the community, with its well-established festivals and events.

Congratulations to the Kansas City Water Resources, Environmental, Landscape Architecture, and Bridge/Structural teams and all who had a hand in this project!

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