Conservation park dedicated at old landfill site

Ken Robl Conservation Park dedication, July 18, 2018 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WLUK) -- There's new life for an old dump in Oshkosh.

The Snell Road Landfill has been closed for decades, but a new conservation park is open for business.

In the shadow of a mound of old buried garbage, the Winnebago County Solid Waste Department celebrated something new.

"Landfilling was complete in '89, and then the final cover was installed in 1991. So that started the long-term care period. And so it really has just kind of sat idle. We're just taking care of it, and it created a great opportunity to create a park," said John Rabe, Winnebago County Solid Waste Director.

The idea has been in the works for about four years. Design engineers had to figure out how to make a park out of a dump site.

"We had to examine the water. And the sediment in the pond, and look at ways that we can separate the public from the landfill. Facilities like the landfill gas system and the leachate system. And then make sure that we weren't exposing the public to any sort of contaminants," said Chris Anderson, Foth Senior Client Manager and Engineer.

A fence separates the mound from the 25-acre park. There are hiking and biking trails. There are two ponds. People can watch nature or fish from an accessible pier made of recycled plastic.

"We're able to use something that people consider a waste. Basically a brown site, and create a park. A community asset to let people enjoy the property here," said Anderson.

The Ken Robl Conservation Park was dedicated Wednesday morning.

"Today is one of the biggest days of my life. I never believed this would happen to me," said Ken Robl, Winnebago County Board Member.

Robl is entering his 39th year on the Winnebago County Board, and also sits on the board's Solid Waste Committee.

"It proves that landfills just don't stand there and do nothing. You can work with them and accomplish something great for the communities," he said.

A plaque and stone were also dedicated in Robl's honor.

"Congratulations," said one member of the crowd.

The Ken Robl Conservation Park is free and open to the public.

The Winnebago County Parks Department will operate and maintain the site.

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