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Lake Cunningham to welcome visitors for first Memorial Day since renovation

For some people, the holiday weekend is already in high gear.
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - For some people, the holiday weekend is already in high gear. They’re taking advantage of a city recreation area that has undergone a multi-million dollar facelift.

The Cunningham Lake Recreation Area is welcoming guests for its first Memorial Day holiday since its renovation.

A few years ago city work crews brought in the heavy equipment and shut down lake cunningham. Zebra mussels had infested the waters, and the lake had to be drained. While the lake was being cleaned, the park was being renovated.

Now the recreational facility has a whole new look. Officials are expecting a lot of people to come out over the holiday weekend.

Those people will see a brand new Lake Cunningham. Boaters are back on the lake, there’s fishing and many improvements.

Brook Bench is the executive director of the Lake Cunningham Development Trust. The trust was formed by a group of local doners and philanthropists who led an effort to put more than $20 million in improvements into the area.

“It has been a lot of work but we love where we’re at right now,” Bench said. “It’s a beautiful facility a beautiful park for the patrons of Omaha and the surrounding area.

This is the park’s first Memorial Day weekend since reopening last August, and there’s plenty to show off.

“Fishing, camping. Our campground is at capacity, you won’t be getting in there unless you already have a reservation. Using our 6.2-mile trail all the way around the lake.”

Barry Ballentine and his group are taking advantage of the new trails. He remembers when the road was not so nice.

“Years ago it was pretty run down I don’t think they had a trail around it, so I didn’t use it a whole lot,” Ballentine said. “Since they redone it, the bike trails are really nice now and it’s more useful, I really enjoy it.”

The campsites have also been improved and now feature 40 updated pads. For RVs right now, they’re very popular.

Cara Steuter made sure her family had a reservation. They will enjoy the great outdoors in the new camper they purchased.

“We got it back in August of 2020 when the pandemic hit just because there wasn’t much to do and we love being outside,” Steuter said. “And we have two dogs as well, so it was nice being able to enjoy the outdoors with them as well.’

Cara says the lake will keep them home this Memorial Day. No traffic to fight, and they only have to buy enough high price gas to move their camper to the park.

“You know it’s nice to just get out of the city and we’re still only about 20 minutes from home, so if we need to pop home we can too, but we’re still on kind of a vacation.”

The trust has plans for more improvements to the Lake Cunningham area.

Officials will kick off a concert series in the park next Friday night at the campground. It will be open to the public.

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