SIOUX CENTER—Pipes are stacked at Children’s Park, waiting to be put in the ground. This is no abstract children’s playground equipment but rather the city’s latest effort to combat erosion and safety concerns regarding the creek that cuts through the park.
“This is a high priority and amenity for our community. It’s not as safe of an environment for young kids and families as we’d like,” said Sioux Center parks director Lee Van Meeteren.
That means installing large-diameter pipes through three-quarters of the park. When laid out, the pipes would start on the west end with a smaller diameter, 40 inches. As the pipes continue to the east, the size will increase to 48 inches and then 60 inches.
The pipes would be buried, making the waterway underground for most of the park, freeing up additional space through high-use parts of the park. The ends will be obstructed so that people can’t enter the pipes.
The cost of the pipes and labor make this an $80,000 project.
As the pipes are about double the size needed now, Van Meeteren hopes the city will get many years of service out of these. That’s important since he has seen the amount of water going through that waterway increase in his 12 years of work with the city parks department, and expects that trend to continue as development continues upstream.
“I feel very confident that this is going to be a good fix and a fix that’s going to last us many years. My goal is that I never have to worry about this again. I’ve been here 12 years and we’ve had to do three different projects already on this waterway. This is the third one, and I’m hoping it’s the last one,” Van Meeteren said. “We’re conscious of how we spend money and my fear is that if we’re not doing it correctly the first time, we’re not being stewards.”
The east end of the waterway will remain as a detention pond. Almost all of the rocks on the west end of the creek at the park will be removed.
“The rocks worked to slow the water down,” Van Meeteren said, “but to do it right, we almost needed to rock the whole thing. People playing disc golf, they’d throw their discs in there and have to go walk across it. It worked and it was safer than what it was, but this is going to be better.”
Even with most of the rocks gone, the pipes will still slow the water down by means of a catch basin and causing the water to fall. Having that fall built in should help, Van Meeteren.
Changing the slope that the creek follows will help reduce flow speed, too. As is, the natural slope of the ground lends itself to speeding up the water’s flow, but when the pipes are put in, crews can make the waterway more level.
“The biggest thing for me is trying to create a safer park with the amount of water and erosion that happens there,” Van Meeteren said.
Work on installing the pipes should begin any week now, pending the schedule of the crew. Once they begin, the work should only take about a week to complete. Van Meeteren asked for the patience of park guests once that happens, as distance from the machinery will need to be maintained.
After the pipes are put in and the dirt replaced, the ground will be seeded.