Camp Ashland celebrates new facility following 2019 floods

The 1,100-acre site was under more than six feet of floodwaters after a levee failed.
Camp Ashland is celebrating its new facility, four years after the Heartland Flood decimated the area.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:21 PM CDT
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ASHLAND, Neb. (WOWT) - Soldiers at the Camp Ashland Training Site are marching around a new facility.

Four years ago, a levee broke, the training site invaded by floodwaters. Camp Ashland was covered in more than six feet of water.

“All of our buildings on the facility completely went above our flood measures we already had in place and did more severe damage than we’ve ever seen before,” said Major Dustin Young, a construction facility management officer.

The camp had to be evacuated. All the buildings were damaged. When officials rebuilt the facility, they made sure to set the buildings higher.

“The floodway in here is about six feet,” Young said. “To get out of the floodplain, you have to build at least a foot, if not two feet above. The current deck is just over eight, around nine feet tall underneath it, so they can do other activities underneath here. We can gain additional space and it allows the soldiers to train in inclement weather.”

Camp Ashland now operates more efficiently -- consolidating more than 20 structures into seven.

Camp Ashland is back to doing what it does best -- training the nation's finest -- four years after floodwaters decimated over 20 buildings.

Downtown Ashland welcomes the news that the camp is back in shape. Mary Ziegenbein has operated The Gift Niche for more than three decades. She says the training camp and the soldiers are a big part of the community.

“They have come into town, I think a couple of times now and painted our light poles, repainted them a few times downtown streets here,a nd they come in shopping here in town and they’re in our parades, and we really appreciate that,” she said.

They train an average of 2,000 soldiers a year at Camp Ashland, and that training continued through the rebuild.

Floodwaters didn’t stop the training, and the historic 1,100-acre site stands a bit taller than it did before.

The project cost $62 million in all -- that includes the construction work, restoring existing facilities, and reinforcing and extending a levee along the Platte River.