The new Fairway Woods development will memorialize two Seward residents.
Thomas “Tim” H. Wake III and Dick O’Dell will be remembered through a park and trail at the new Fairway Woods Development located on Hillcrest Drive.
Seward Lumber and the Wake family were partners in developing the idea for Fairway Woods. The two then took their ideas to the city.
“Initially when the development was proposed…it was owned by the Wake family still, so then the Wake family would transfer it to the development group (Building Seward LLC) and they would be the ultimate developers,” City Administrator Greg Butcher said. “They did a really good job ahead of time when they came to the city with their ultimate development plan of laying out what they wanted to do.”
Seward Lumber Board Member and Senator Mark Kolterman said the whole idea for the development and the park were to preserve a Great Plains shelterbelt.
The Great Plains shelterbelt project was initiated by former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The idea was to plant lines of trees to help with soil erosion during the time of the Dust Bowl.
Kolterman said the Seward Lumber board decided it did not want to tear out the shelterbelt.
“Of course it makes sense to use it (the shelterbelt). A lot of them are old trees,” he said.
The Tim Wake Memorial Park is three acres according to, Jones Bank’s President Max Wake’s assistant, Jennifer Marr. Marr said the park will be ADA accessible.
“Tim Wake had some physical challenges in life and having ADA accessible playground equipment was always important to him, making sure that all children had the ability to enjoy their local park” Marr said.
The Dick O’Dell trail will be attached with the park and will one day connect with the city trail.
O’Dell was on the Seward Lumber board for more than 20 years, Kolterman said. He was born and raised in Seward and started a concrete business.
Marr said O’Dell’s wife, Karen, had some input on the trail memorializing O’Dell.
“Karen said providing learning opportunities for kids as well as making it fun was important to Dick; so they’re learning without even knowing it,” Marr said.
Marr said Karen will use O’Dell’s memorial money to donate a marimba to place along the trail.
The trail and the park are set to begin construction soon, Butcher said.
“We will be installing all the playground equipment here. Within the month they’ll be on site installing that. We’ll finalize the order for the shelter and get that ordered here this fall...we hope,” he said.
Butcher said he thinks this park will be for everyone, not just people in the neighborhood. He hopes to use the park as a model for future ones as well.
“We wanted something that had some pizzazz and gave it a sense of place so that kids from up by Plum Creek Park would say ‘hey I want to go to Wake Park, and go play on the tree set playground,’” Butcher said. “It gave you that piece and so we’re also tracking that for what we’re going to do at Armory Park as well.”
Armory Park will be located next to the National Guard Museum and Butcher hopes to get plans underway soon.