Pond upgrade next for Capaha Park improvements

Changes at Capaha Pond

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - After not seeing any major work for decades, the pond at Capaha Park will be drained and upgraded this year.

It’s a continuation of the City of Cape Girardeau’s effort draw in more people to the historic park. This time they hope to make it more appealing to anglers, walkers and visitors.

Funding for the $750,000 project will come from the city’s Parks, Recreation and Stormwater Tax and a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Weather permitting, the work is slated to start in late Spring of 2020 with the goal of the completing the project in one year.

Parks Divisional Manager Brock Davis said the investment will compliment a new restroom facility, splash pad and additions to Capaha Field.

“Capaha Park is already popular it’s just going to make it even better," Davis said. ““As far as fishing habitat, leisure recreation, walking, jogging, any type of things you do."

Davis said the effort will also reduce erosion and the risk for flash flooding at the pond.

Anthony Franco, a student at Southeast Missouri State University, lives near Capaha and has noticed a lot of standing water around the park after large storms.

“It might rain two or three days in a row if that happens I mean it comes up all of the way to the tree line sometimes," Franco said. "Everywhere you go there are these huge mud puddles where you’re just sinking in slowly but surely. It’s annoying and it’s definitely frustrating.”

After decades of rain and silt build up the pond at Capaha pond, Davis said the water is now only about five feet deep.

“Years ago when I first came here it was around 12, 15 foot deep, but it is a storm water detention area,” Davis said. “It was widened back in 1940, so it’s been a long time coming for this pond to be renovated.”

A big part of the construction will be a network of sidewalks that connect to the pond features around the park.

“Right now the sidewalk just goes around the perimeter edge of the pond," Davis said. "We are wanting to meander that sidewalk through the trees, make it ADA accessible and more level.”

Another addition will be more outdoor lighting to illuminate the sidewalks.

Kelsey Nance lives in Cape Girardeau County and said the improvements would encourage her to visit the park more often.

“I’m excited they’re going to put lighting in. I think it’s a safety issue," Nance said. "I think that is very important to have especially at night. The hospital is right there so people can come walk on their break if they work night shift and they won’t be scared to come out.”

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