Westfield might spend $9 million to turn wastewater lagoons into nature preserve

A proposed $9 million improvement project at Westfield’s Simon Moon Park could bring new educational and recreational activities to the banks of two former wastewater lagoons.

The Westfield City Council might consider “reimagining” the city’s Simon Moon Park as a 24-acre nature preserve with outdoor classrooms, a safer sledding hill, increased parking, boardwalk trails, fishing piers, a canoe launch and a potential bait shop, snack shop or watercraft rental facility.

“The vision for this site is to turn it from something that was uninhabitable into something beautiful,” Lollar said.

Built in the mid-1970s as part of the wastewater treatment plant’s facilities, Simon Moon Park’s pair of nine-acre wastewater lagoons on East 171st Street, west of Futch Way, were taken offline in 2017.

The city has since worked to dredge hazardous materials from the lagoons—as well as the soil beneath them—to get a clean stamp of approval from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Today, the park features restrooms, a shelter house, a playground and a sledding hill.

Lollar said there’s not been an established timeline for the project, but the around $900,000 allocated toward the improvements in this year’s budget has allowed workers to start the transformation by filling in a portion of one of the two lagoons.

Though Lollar said the project might be done in phases so that it could be included in each year’s budget, councilor Cindy Spoljaric said it might be worth reevaluating the park impact fee residential developers pay the city when they build in Westfield to see if it might support this and other parks projects.

Currently, Lollar said that fee is $1,455 per residential unit built.

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