A construction project in the village of Solon Springs has left the Park Creek Pond drained.
“Now it’s just Park Creek,” said Douglas County Park and Recreation Supervisor Clint Meyer.
The main goal of the project is to place three overflow culverts under Business Highway 53. The county is also taking the opportunity to replace the current dam structure, which is old and deteriorating. The pipe that runs under the road to the original dam is not being replaced, but nearly everything else is.
Two years ago, the Park Creek Dam failed it’s dam inspection for a 500-year flood.
“We didn’t have enough overflow storage if that event happens,” Meyer said.
While the new culverts should stay dry most years, they could prove crucial during a major rain event. Meyer said water from Park Creek has only covered the road once that he’s aware of, during the Father’s Day flood of 2018.
“We had water everywhere,” he said.
The county was given a 10-year time frame to make the repairs, but decided to be proactive after securing a $169,000 grant from the Wisconsin DNR’s Municipal Dam Grant Program. Meyer said the grant will cover nearly two-thirds of the cost of the $252,000 project, with the county paying the rest.
The fishing pier and boardwalk at Park Creek Pond have been shut down until the project is complete in early fall.
Meyer said the Douglas County Forestry Department has fielded a number of calls about the sinking water level at the pond, which was drained slowly over a 30-day period. Now, the biggest concern they hear is about the smell.
“There’s old and rotting vegetation at the bottom of it so the smell is kind of bad right now,” Meyer said. “That will hopefully subside here soon.”
A section of Business Loop 53 from Hughes to Marion avenues will be closed for the duration of the project, which is expected to take up to eight weeks. Stack Brothers out of Superior is doing the work. Once the culverts are done, the road will reopen.
The pond, however, won’t be back in business quite so soon.
“It took 30 days to drain it down and it’ll probably take that plus another 15 to fill it up, if we have enough flow coming through,” Meyer said.