Proposed river park projects to limit floodwater, create new biking tracks

Mar. 10—The Parks Department has proposed a $1.2 million project designed to benefit parks and businesses on the river front.

In that proposal, $700,000 will be devoted to Heritage Park, and $575,000 will go toward flood prevention efforts. A concrete spillway will be added to reduce the water accumulation in the event of a flood.

Heritage Park has a large softball complex that hosts tournaments throughout the summer, meaning they can't afford too much flood damage.

"The St. Joseph Sports Commission is hosting multiple tournaments now a year," said Chuck Kempf, parks director. "We're up to maybe three this year, and they're trying to build on that inventory of events along with some other groups that are that are hosting spring and summer events.

"There's two large tournaments, the Mid Buchanan tournament, the Benton High School tournament, and then typically the Benton and Lafayette District just played at Heritage Park," he continued. "Occasionally the LeBlond district is also played there. So the quicker we can recover that property, the better it is for everybody."

Another part of the proposal is three new mountain biking tracks at Huston-Wyeth park, a $400,000 plan. Plans have been in the works for some time, as there is a full time group that works on the trails.

"We try and go out and inspect those trails as quickly as we can after a rain event," Kempf said. "If folks are noticing erosion or other issues with the trails, they can call our department and report that. It's a lot of minimizing any potential flood damage or kind of working on the the bike trails."