May 15, 2014
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Southeast District joined the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners and the Westgate/Belvedere Homes Community Redevelopment Agency to dedicate the Dennis P. Koehler Preserve Wednesday. The preserve project will provide nearly 7 acres of additional stormwater storage.
The department’s Division of Water provided a $7 million grant to Palm Beach County that funded multiple environmental rehabilitation projects, of which more than $1.5 million was allocated toward this project. The department’s Southeast District has been the administrator and grant manager for this grant since 2006.
“This project is a great example of how the department’s State Revolving Fund program assists communities in improving their local infrastructures; in this case, allowing stormwater to be treated before its release into our natural ecosystem. We are proud to work with the county to get the water right,” said Mark Thomasson, director of DEP’s Divison of Water Resource Management.
The project involved excavating an existing dry area and converting it to a wet retention pond. These improvements involved the collection of stormwater runoff through a series of constructed culverts and inlets through the area. The implementation of a brook, an EcoArt element, is intended to bring environmental awareness to the public. Flooding has been problematic for this community and this area will help the runoff from the entire drainage sub-basin be collected and treated during small storm events.
Dennis Koehler, a former Palm Beach County Commissioner, was a passionate advocate for equitable development and enhancement of the environment, which he actively promoted through his involvement with the Westgate/Belvedere Homes Community Redevelopment Agency. Koehler, who passed away in 2011, is remembered for his work on environmental causes and love for the county.
During the ceremony, Mayor Priscilla Taylor said, “Dennis has left Palm Beach County better. Let him be an inspiration to us all.”