City updates Pipal Park Master Plan

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For Westgate residents, Pipal Park encompasses a lot. For one thing, it’s where a devastating storm hit. “The park predates the tornado, the 1975 tornado. It was pretty much wiped out,” neighbor Terry Anderson said. Pipal Park is also the site of Omaha’s first barrier-free playground, opened in the 1980s. “Flat surfaces that wheelchairs can be pushed on and they can swing. And for all ages,” said said Anderson. For neighbors, like Anderson himself, who has lived in the neighborhood for 34 years, it is also a source of many memories. “My children grew up in this park,” he said. Now, after much wear and tear, Pipal Park is about to get a facelift. “It’s in need. You look at picnic tables and restrooms and such. It needs a major upgrade,” Anderson said. The City of Omaha is working on an updated master plan for Pipal Park, with some work expected to begin later this year. “The beautiful part about it is that it’s really a complete look and assessment or assessment of everything and how they fit together and work together,” said the director of parks, Matt Kalcevich. According to Kalcevich, they’re considering things like moving the playground barrier-free, adding a splash court, redesigning restrooms, resurfacing the courts and adjusting what he calls a cumbersome entrance to the park. Anderson said in neighborhood meetings with the Parks Department they also discussed things like an amphitheater and additional walking paths. He is excited to see the updates at the park. “It’s been on the map of the city for several years, in pencil, and now we’re finally getting to the stage where something is going to happen,” he said. One thing the neighbors want to keep is a tunnel painted by a local artist. Anderson said it was another one of the things people knew about Pipal and a way to welcome new people to the updated park. “I think it’ll be pretty busy. Busier than it’s been,” Anderson said.

For Westgate residents, Pipal Park encompasses a lot.

For one thing, it’s where a devastating storm hit.

“The park predates the tornado, the 1975 tornado. It was pretty much wiped out,” neighbor Terry Anderson said.

Pipal Park is also the site of Omaha’s first barrier-free playground, which opened in the 1980s.

“Flat surfaces that wheelchairs can be pushed on and they can swing. And for all ages,” Anderson said.

For neighbors, like Anderson himself, who has lived in the neighborhood for 34 years, it is also a source of many memories.

“My children grew up in this park,” he said.

Now, after much wear and tear, Pipal Park is about to get a facelift.

“It’s in need. You look at picnic tables and restrooms and such. It needs a major upgrade,” Anderson said.

The City of Omaha is working on an updated master plan for Pipal Park, with some work expected to begin later this year.

“The beautiful part about it is that it’s really a complete look and assessment or assessment of everything and how they fit together and work together,” said the director of parks, Matt Kalcevich.

According to Kalcevich, they’re considering things like moving the playground barrier-free, adding a splash court, redesigning restrooms, resurfacing the courts and adjusting what he calls a cumbersome entrance to the park.

Anderson said in neighborhood meetings with the Parks Department they also discussed things like an amphitheater and additional walking paths.

He is excited to see the updates at the park.

“It’s been on the map of the city for several years, in pencil, and now we’re finally getting to the stage where something is going to happen,” he said.

One thing the neighbors want to keep East a tunnel painted by a local artist. Anderson said it was another one of the things people knew about Pipal and a way to welcome new people to the updated park.

“I think it’ll be pretty busy. Busier than it’s been,” Anderson said.

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