Groundbreaking For New Hubbard Lake Brings Recreation, Flood Control

When the temperature starts to climb, taking a swim is always an excellent way to beat the heat.

Soon folks in Hubbard, Nebraska, will be able to take a dip in a brand new lake.

Crews broke ground on the new Pigeon Jones Watershed site Thursday morning, but the $15 million project isn't only about having fun.

"They talk about 50 feet of water right where we're at right now," said Ron Hunn, a member of the Hubbard, Nebraska Village Board, as he observed the site of the new Pigeon Jones Watershed Lake Thursday morning. "It's unbelievable, isn't it?"

That's what the groundbreaking Thursday morning was all about, getting a start on a $15 million dollar project that will turn the Pigeon Jones Watershed site into a 226 acre lake.

"This will protect 20,000 acres of farmland," said John Winkler, General Manager of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District.

That's what had dirt movers working all morning, building a dam that'll help control flood waters and stop erosion for fields almost as far as the eye can see.

"We build these for flood control. We build these to protect lives and property, that's our number one goal," said Winkler. "And then recreation is just a secondary benefit."

It's those recreational possibilities that have folks in Hubbard the most excited.

The Pigeon Jones Watershed site will soon be home to a 750 acre park with everything from boating to fishing, even hiking and horseback riding.

All of which will turn this farmland into one of Northeast Nebraska's newest getaways.

"I feel it's going to bring a lot of people into town," said Hunn. "We live in a little town with 200 some people, you know, I think it'll make the town grow."

How long before the site will actually fill up with water?

That should take about a year, depending on how much rain the area gets.

The dam should be finished by 2013 and the recreation area should open up by 2015.