Hopes of Cunningham lake reopening by late summer

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 5:40 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Lake Cunningham Development Trust was organized to raise money to develop and enhance the recreational infrastructure at Cunningham lake.

The non-profit plans to make the recreational facility more attractive and accessible to the community.

Overlooking Cunningham lake, Richard McCaulley says he misses all of the activity that goes on around the lake.

“We miss the people on the lake, we miss the experience of going into the park and seeing the wildlife that’s on the north end of the lake. And we miss the experience of having a city recreation area that we could go to and I could take my young daughter to and have fun in,” said McCaulley.

Access to the Cunningham lake recreation area has been shut down for months. Officials had to drain the lake because of an invasion of zebra mussels, an invasive species.

6 News was told the lake will naturally refill itself. Right now, it’s about half full and hopefully, it will be full by late spring, early summer.

There has been activity going on and work crews have been busy making improvements.

Executive Director of Lake Cunningham Development Trust, Brook Bench, said, “We’re going to see six miles of concrete trail going all the way around the lake, a new campground renovations to the old campground, renovations to the picnic shelter, just a lot of things. We’re looking forward to opening up and having a truly special park.”

Bench says there has been around $20 million, all donated, spent on the upgrades. Private donors also helped redeveloped Miller Park in North Omaha.

There is a dog park and a splash pad waiting for summer. Many improvements have been made here without millions of taxpayers’ dollars.

“It’s exciting to see what kind of philanthropic community we have because, without it, you don’t get multi-million-dollar park rehabs on the city dollar. It’s like you said, the budgets are tight, they’re strapped, it’s difficult. Lake Cunningham, we’re in a multi-million dollar renovation. It’s truly going to be something special when people see it and we wouldn’t have these kind of upgrades if we didn’t have the generous donors that we have in Omaha, Nebraska,” said Bench.

There is still some work to do at Cunningham Lake but officials hope to have the recreational area open by early summer.

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