Governor Ricketts last night officially signed LB 177 into law, extending the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District’s bonding authority for five years for flood control projects.
The Papio NRD can now complete the Missouri River Levee project that protects Offutt Air Force Base and Omaha’s Wastewater Treatment Plant after this year’s historic and destructive floods, as well as build six priority reservoirs throughout the Greater Omaha Metro Area to provide needed flood mitigation.
“We would like thank Governor Ricketts, Senator Lindstrom and other bill sponsors; Senator Hughes, Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee; countless state senators and their staff, mayors from partner jurisdictions, and citizens who supported LB 177,” says John Winkler, general manager of the Papio NRD. “This is an important piece of legislation that enables the Papio NRD to continue its job of protecting lives and property through construction of additional flood control infrastructure throughout our District,” says Winkler.
Bill Extending Bonding Authority Advances – One Final Step To Go
Legislative Bill 177 today passed Final Reading with no debate on a vote of 35-8 by the Nebraska Legislature. The bill extends the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District’s bonding authority for five years for flood control projects.
The bill will ensure the Papio NRD can complete the Missouri River Levee project that protects Offutt Air Force Base and Omaha’s Wastewater Treatment Plant after this year’s destructive and historic floods, as well as, build six priority reservoirs to provide needed flood mitigation in the Greater Omaha Metro Area.
The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.
Flood control reservoir provides public safety and recreational opportunities for Omaha citizens
Omaha, NE, June, 27, 2018 – The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District and the City of Omaha today celebrated the grand opening of Flanagan Lake, Omaha’s latest flood control reservoir in the Papillion Creek Watershed, that provides flood protection for Omaha citizens and 730 acres of recreational benefits, such as a 220-acre lake, five-mile hiking/biking trail, and park and green space.
“Flanagan Lake is a reservoir designed to protect the lives and property of Omaha citizens from floods,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. “This is its primary purpose. The recreational amenities that accompany these types of public safety infrastructure projects are made possible through partnerships. So, it’s flood protection with some incredible cherries on top,” said Winkler.
The $47 million project, located near 168th and Fort Streets, is the largest single flood control structure undertaken by the Papio NRD. It will retain stormwater runoff from an upstream area of approximately 11 square miles. Once the Papio NRD completed construction of the reservoir in 2018, the City of Omaha took over management of the park.
“Just as Father Flanagan created Boys Town to provide a family-centered environment for children, Flanagan Lake is a beautiful public space that will provide family-oriented recreation and leisure,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “Our excellent parks system provides free entertainment in every part of Omaha. We look forward to opening a Boys Town playground next year, and offering year-round activities for everyone,” said Stothert.
“While the recreational benefits are much more apparent to citizens, providing public safety is Flanagan Lake’s number one job,” said Winkler. “Most people aren’t aware of this. So, as citizens run the trail or kayak the waters, they can do so knowing flood protection is in action while they play.”
To continue the grand opening celebration, Winker also announced the kick-off a city-wide “Dam Fun Contest,” where citizens can enter to win recreation-themed prizes donated by sponsors. For more contest information, visit www.flanaganlake.com.
Additional companies/organizations involved in the design and construction of Flanagan Lake who spoke at today’s grand opening ceremony included HDR, Inc. Vice President & Project Manager John Engel, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Chairman Dick Bell, Papio NRD Board of Directors Chairman David Klug, and City of Omaha Parks and Recreation Director Brook Bench.
At their April, 2017 board meeting, the NRD Board of Directors took action to refinance Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement Bonds that may ultimately save NRD-area property taxpayers millions of dollars.
The NRD issued $58,200,000 of Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement Bonds over two bond offerings in 2013. Interest rates have declined to a point where refinancing a portion of the outstanding bonds may achieve interest cost savings over the remaining life of the bonds. The bonded funding is being used to construct flood control projects and water quality improvements in the district.
“The Nebraska Legislature entrusted the NRD with the opportunity to fund projects using bonding authority and we always seek ways to be good stewards of this authority,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager. “We believe we can save taxpayers one to two million dollars through this refinancing effort.”
The Board of Directors approved parameters for the refinancing of the bonds and directed the General Manager to explore the best course of action.
In 2015, the district refinanced bonds issued in 2010 and achieved approximately $460,000 of interest cost savings.
The district includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington and Dakota Counties plus the eastern portion of Burt and Thurston Counties.