Laramie residents and visitors will have a new spot for outdoor recreation in the field behind and between Laramie High School and the Laramie Community Recreation Center with the construction of Regency Pond — a pond many people may not ever even see.
“Really, most people, once the project is complete, won’t even realize that it is a pond,” City Engineer Eric Jaap said during the meeting.
To disguise the pond’s intended use as stormwater drainage, the city is using a geogrid bottom instead of a concrete one. This allows grass and other vegetation to grow at the bottom to hide trickle channels and other drainage infrastructure, Jaap said.
Part of the larger Turner Tract area, Jaap said the area was identified as a “number-one priority” for storm drainage in Laramie as city staff works to complete a City-wide Storm Drainage Master Plan.
More than just a concrete stormwater drainage pond, Jaap said engineers are working to make it look natural to fit its secondary use — recreation access. He said the drop structures feeding the stormwater to the pond will be constructed with rock or pre-cast concrete to look like rock to create a more “natural, river-like” feel.
Multi-use paths around the pond from Boulder Drive to Garfield Street and from LHS to the Regency Drive cul-de-sac will also be built, which Jaap said would allow for more much-needed pedestrian and bike access to the school.
“Both of these paths have been needed since the high school was opened,” Jaap said. “We’ve been looking for ways to get those in. … We get a lot of bike use and pedestrian use and the sidewalk really can’t handle it.”
Additionally, the soil moved to make the pond will be used to make property along Boulder Drive more suitable for development, as well as being stockpiled for use by the Wyoming Department of Transportation for the upcoming Phase II of the Bill Nye Avenue extension project.
All the changes do, however, come with a hefty $1.6 million price change, not including more than $160,000 also set aside for potential contingencies.
The total project cost is expected to be $2,496,843.50, but the city plans to use almost $1,259,000 in property sales to help offset it, along with more than $1.2 million in cash reserves.
The Laramie City Council voted unanimously to approve the new drainage pond and the project’s budget changes during its Tuesday meeting. The bidding for the pond’s construction originally occurred last year along with the Boulder-Beech detention pond, which was completed last year.
During the time for Council comment, Councilwoman Erin O’Doherty expressed her approval of the project.
“I think this detention pond is really needed on that side of town,” O’Doherty said. “I’m really excited that there’s a recreation component because I think it lends itself well to that.”