The city of Lenexa, a suburban community in the Kansas City metropolitan area, owns the lake and associated park area and conceived the 'Rain to Recreation' programme that includes the dam and spillway project. black-veatch, a global engineering, consulting and construction company, provided study, public outreach, design and construction management services.
The Lake Lenexa Rain to Recreation approach transforms stormwater into a community asset. The city built a spillway and dam to create a 14ha lake within nearly 142ha of parkland for fishing, nature education and non-motorized boating. The new facilities also feature wetlands, trails, docks, a boat ramp, picnic areas and boardwalks.
Design of the dam was inspired by nature's hydrologic cycle and the structure was built using 6117m3 of steel-reinforced concrete with sloping curves and other architecturally appealing features. The 244m long, 15m high dam holds stormwater in a 863,408m3 lake.
The US$23M lake, dam and spillway, and park project benefits Lenexa and other Johnson County residents. The project not only provides essential flood control but also improved water quality through construction of wetlands; natural stream preservation and restoration; stormwater management through incorporation of porous pavement and rain gardens; and recreation and education opportunities.
Community involvement was essential to the project's success, and public input was strongly encouraged. The project team was responsive to other needs as well. When it was discovered that vital habitat for the protected Redbelly Snake existed along the reservoir stream, plans were modified to minimize construction impacts on the habitat area.
The USSD 2009 Excellence in the Constructed Project Award recognizes the significant contributions made to the dam community and to society through the construction, remediation or removal of a dam or water resources structure. The award honors individuals or team of professionals who meet the challenges of the nation's aging infrastructure in an era of limited financial resources and increasing environmental awareness.
The Rain to Recreation Program and Lake Lenexa project previously received a Crown Communities award from American City & County magazine in 2006 and the Gold Metal for Municipal Excellence for the National League of Cities in 2007.
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