Reader question: What are they digging north of the Winneconne Avenue overpass in Neenah? Where are they hauling all the dirt?
Answer: The city of Neenah is building a regional stormwater pond on a former Neenah Foundry truck parking lot at a cost of $1.8 million.
Neenah purchased the four-acre site in 2018 for $1,000 and assumed liability for any environmental contamination. The property once was home to two gas stations and a creamery.
MCC Inc. of Appleton is the contractor for the project. The work began last month.
Neenah is in need of a stormwater pond in the central part of the city to minimize street flooding and to comply with regulations set by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Stormwater ponds collect runoff and then release it at a steady rate to a nearby body of water, in this case the Neenah Slough, which is known as Neenah Creek within city limits. Stormwater ponds not only control flooding, but they also improve water quality by allowing pollutants and sediment to settle out before the water is discharged.
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The new pond will cover most of the block, which is bound by Winneconne Avenue, Harrison Street, Monroe Street and a warehouse along the Canadian National railroad tracks. It will collect stormwater from 217 acres.
"What's dug out now is probably a third of it, and it's not even to its full depth yet," city engineer Jason Eckhart said. "They still have to go deeper."
Because the pond lies along one of the main corridors of the city, engineers designed it to have more aesthetic elements and features than a typical stormwater pond.
The pond will include a stacked limestone waterfall on the east side and a gangway and floating pier on the south side. A retaining wall and a concrete patio will be built along the west side, and walking paths will line the perimeter.
The amenities are intended to complement nearby Washington Park.
MCC is hauling away the excavated material. Uncontaminated soils are being used as fill at Arrowhead Park or the former Bridgewood Golf Course. Contaminated soils are being landfilled at a cost of $120,000.
"We knew that going in," Eckhart said. "That was part of the reason the land was essentially given to the city."
Neenah's stormwater utility is paying for the pond. It secured a $150,000 DNR grant to help fund the project.
Post-Crescent reporter Duke Behnke answers your questions about local government. Send questions to email@example.com or call him at 920-993-7176.
This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: Neenah digs $1.8 million stormwater pond on former Neenah Foundry site