Waterfront Park crews confident lawn will be green in time for D - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Waterfront Park crews confident lawn will be green in time for Derby festivities

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's a dirty, messy job, but Waterfront Park needs some TLC after last month's flooding.

Nearly half of the 90-acre park was under water when the Ohio River swelled, but Facilities Manager Gary Pepper said his team is up to the task.

"We've got our eight guys and four pieces of equipment," Pepper said. "And then a subcontractor, Mac Construction, sent a crew over to help us out."

The first step in the cleanup process was crews clearing away all the trash and debris left last week. Now they're getting rid of all the wet mud.

"The mud, as long as it's at the river's edge and still wet, we have a permit we can push the mud," Pepper said. "As long as it's 100 feet away from the edge of the water."

Much of the mud that is dry now has to go too, but it can't go in the river.

"Everything we're collecting right now is dry, and it's a little bit easier to move when it's dry," Pepper said. "So we'll move it, stock pile it, [and] Solid Waste Management with the city of Louisville will provide dumpsters to us."

Pepper says they've already gone through 14 dumpsters of debris and mud, and they'll probably have another 10 to 20 to go. 

"You never have a budget for anything like this," he said. "This is going to be a FEMA, hopefully, reimbursement. We should qualify." 

Once all the mud is gone, Pepper's crews will aerate it, roll it and seed it. Planting seed is still probably two weeks away, but Pepper believes they'll be done in time for the crowds to roll into town for the Kentucky Derby.

"Thunder is a month out. If we don't have another flood or anything catastrophic, it should be green," he said. "But it's probably not going to be nice and thick like your yard. But it should be green and dry, hopefully."

Funding from FEMA would not cover daily wages, but dumpsters, fuel, extra tools, equipment, and contractors should be reimbursable. Pepper said it's still not clear how much everything will cost.

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