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Long effort restores pond to Oleson Park

A committee of citizens made key recommendation on project

After an absence of nearly five years, a pond has reappeared in a central location of Oleson Park.

This new body of water isn’t as big as the pond longtime Fort Dodge residents remember being in the park, but it’s in about the same place. It is stocked with koi, a type of fish that’s a jumbo-sized relative of the goldfish found in home aquariums.

And without a doubt, it is a welcome addition to the park at the south end of 17th Street.

Its creation dovetails with the broader upgrades at the park, which include new entrances, sidewalks and an enclosure for the deer. Add those features to the historic bandshell and the popular splash pad, and Oleson Park could easily qualify as the crown jewel of the city’s park system.

Technically, the pond isn’t completed, though it seems likely that few people will notice the unfinished details. We hope they instead see a nice addition to the park.

There hasn’t been a water feature in the park since the previous pond was drained in late 2015. At that time, a levee was breached and the water was allowed to run out so that an accumulation of silt could be removed. Then local leaders had to decide what to do next.

The City Council appointed a panel called the Oleson Park Pond Renovation Committee to make a recommendation. In early 2016, that all-volunteer group recommended the creation of a smaller pond.

Creating a viable pond isn’t as simple as pouring some water in a depression in the ground, so some engineering and construction work had to be done. That is now mostly completed, and park visitors are enjoying the results.

We thank everyone who worked to make this possible. Special recognition goes to the members of the Oleson Park Pond Renovation Committee, who willingly tackled a unique challenge.

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