OSAGE BEACH, Mo. - After closing for nearly eight months due to extensive flood damage, the city park reopened April 1 for public use.
However, additional needed repairs to parts of the 92-acre facility, including one baseball field and its popular pond, will not be completed until later this year or 2015.
According to Osage Beach Parks and Recreation Manager Brian Willey, non-critical areas of the park currently reopened include baseball fields No. 1 and No. 3, the playground and all three soccer fields.
Youth baseball team practices and soccer league practices and games were held at the park all this week, with adult softball league sign-up underway and the park's first public event since reopening, Kilts & Kleats Softball Tournament and IAFF Local 3987 Benefit, scheduled Saturday, April 12.
"The kids were really affected by the damage the park received, from the playgrounds to the fields," Willey said. "I'm glad we got those up and running again," Willey said.
The dam reconstruction, creek rehabilitation, culvert reconstruction and baseball field No. 2 rehabilitation and parking lot asphalt will be in the next phases of repair. Willey said the parking lot, which was installed at about $80,000 in 2012, was destroyed after the Aug. 6, 2013, storms.
"The morning that the flooding occurred in August, the whole pond breached the levy, and the force of the water came down, lifting this parking lot up about 3 feet," he said. "The parking lot was swaying back and forth like a magic carpet. As the water receded, trees were lodged underneath the pavement."
Willey said since the public can re-enter the park for these activities and other park use, his staff is working to create a temporary parking lot by the soccer fields that can hold 35 to 40 vehicles.
He plans to have it repaired by the time the annual Osage Beach Fall Festival returns in early September.
"Construction on just about everything else in the park, including the parking lot, begins in August. We are still having the Fall Fest here in the park, so we will have a parking lot ready for the Fall Fest," he said. "The only thing will not be completed is baseball field No. 2 and pond area will not be completed."
Willey said a main reason the park was closed to the public was due to the uncertain safety of the pond. The August 2013 flood forced the pond to overflow, ruin the park's irrigation system, elevate its creek above the road, flood its fields, playground, concession stands and maintenance building, and create large, natural culvert that swept up equipment, logs and debris into the lower creek and Lake of the Ozarks.
Since the pond was full pool after the storm, Osage Beach staff was afraid it would breach again if another flood occurred.
"That is why we had to close and keep residents out of the park; it was for their own safety," he said. "We don't know what our plans with the pond are yet, but it will not be refilled until 2015.
For more information about progress at the park, visit www.osagebeach-mo.gov, and select the "Parks Restoration Progress!" link under the "Parks and Recreation" tab under "Departments."