About SaveTheSunks.org

Thanks to all the supporters who helped "Save the Sunks!"

Who we are:
We are just ordinary folks living within a few blocks of the Sunks who have chosen to give voice to the hundreds of Dundee and citywide neighbors who want to keep the Sunks as it was intended: a greenspace.

What's at stake:
A plan to develop The Sunks threatened to destroy the 100 year-old greenspace in Omaha's Dundee neighborhood known as the Sunken Garden. The plan called for removing lawn, as well as mature, healthy trees, their canopy of shade, building permanent structures, walls, hardscape and patios and spraying pesticide.
The plan also called for privatizing The Sunks by transferring maintenance responsibility from the City Parks Department to an unidentified private company without a clear way to pay for the maintenance in perpetuity.

Along with hundreds of Omaha neighbors, we sought to Save the Sunks.
With others, we worked together to present this message:

Jeff Berg — Veteran, retired executive and lifetime Dundee resident

Kris Berg — Registered nurse, 35+ year Dundee resident

Michael Braunstein — Media content developer, 17-plus years in Dundee

Debbie Forsman — 37-plus years a Dundee resident

Ernie Goss, Ph.D. — University professor, 25-plus years a Dundee resident

Mary Keck — Corporate vice-president, 35-year Dundee resident

Ryan K. Sallans, MA — Speaker and Author, Dundee resident

Megan Smith-Sallans — Psychotherapist, lifelong Dundee resident

Hundreds of Omahans oppose digging up the Sunks and share many concerns.
Many are worried about the effect on traffic, safety and late night activity.
Many are concerned about parking issues.
Many are concerned about the inadequate and ambiguous plans for costly maintenance.
Many are concerned about the disruption brought by possible lighting.
Many don't like the plan for toxic pesticide use.
Many simply appreciate the natural, passive beauty that the trees and lawn bring to the boulevard and the neighborhood, which was the original designers' intention and despite the developers' claims, people DO use the center section just as it is. There are several other concerns...

Almost everyone believes that some upgrading and care, grading the lawn and perhaps some flowers would enhance and be in keeping with the philosophy of the designers but removing greenspace and replacing it with hardscape, walls and permanent structures is not a worthwhile pursuit.

( At the request of concerned Dundee residents, a meeting was held at City Hall on October 11, 2017. While many ideas were discussed, little has changed. Updates will follow when available.

What Omaha is saying:

"I spent over 75 years in the area and I don't think anyone can top what mother nature gave us. Money is the issue here. Someone wants to spend something. Leave it alone. Don't try to fix something that isn't broken."
— Michael H. (via W-H comments)


"It must not happen! This is our not-so-secret special place...and my dog would be very upset!!!"
— Adele Russell, Dundee (via email)


"We live in Benson and attend Dundee Presbyterian Church.
Developing this sliver of property for formal, more intensive use is one of the worst ideas we've heard for awhile.
Traffic and parking considerations make current use optimal."
— J. & R. P. via email


"We live less than 2 blocks east of the sunk. All 3 of us want the sunk left alone.
In 1993, my son made Eagle scout in BSA troop 42 that meets at the church. I was assistant troopmaster and used the sunk as a great outdoor teaching lab.

Everything else in the area is being built-up and overdeveloped, can't we leave some free space?"
— Ed L., Dundee (via email)


"We want to see the Sunks preserved in its current state and uses. It's an unique and special element of our neighborhood. The charm of neighborhood winter ice skating or summer football shouldn't be lost."
— Sean & Stacey K., Fairacres (via email)


"I live at 51st and Izard since 1985. I have lived in or near Dundee since 1956. I am a former state and federal prosecutor. I am unalterably against this proposed sunks plan and will do whatever I can to help stop it. The whole thing seems fishy to me. Somebody stands to profit or it wouldn’t be happening."
— R. S., Dundee (via email)


"I have lived within walking distance of the Sunken Gardens my entire life and was one of four kids in out family along with other kids in out neighborhood who spent a lot of hours playing ball and just hanging out on our way to Elmwood Park. I grew up married and raised three more kids , still within walking distance of the Sunken Gardens we have always enjoyed the "Dundee" quality of peace & quiet & life. When I first read the article last year about the pending plans to "improve" the Sunken Gardens" and at the time I thought, this makes no sense to try to "improve/ruin a beautiful quiet spot in the heart of Dundee.

I recently read the update in the World Herald and was unhappy to see the plan looks to be going forward. I was unaware of the recent Council meeting to discuss the plan moving forward or I would have attended. I was not surprised to see that two real estate developers where behind the move."
— Tom B., Dundee (via email)


"Leave it alone.. I love driving through and seeing the green space as it is.. flowers and walkways will not make it more beauitful than it is now..."
— Mary J. (via W-H comments)


"Haven't enough trees been cut down already, on Underwood Ave? Please leave this lovely undeveloped space as is!"
— Sandy L. (via W-H comments)


"i've LOVED this area called the sunks or sunken garden all my life ... The city has already destroyed the Clarinda ( NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK ON THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY ) ... TURNER PARK IS HALF CONCRETE NOW ... This is a MOCKERY of it's intended purpose ... LEAVE IT ALONE ... 65 wonderful years in Dundee ... Memorial Park
— Nils E. (via W-H comments, Oct 21, 2017 7:50pm)


"Leave it alone. Spend the money on our streets, like Burt and Cuming."
— Wayne H. (via email)


"I would rather have the Sunken Garden the way it is now: green, serene, inviting. Any structures they would build would be unnecessary.
They could take whatever plan they have in mind and put it in Memorial Park. I’d prefer the Sunken Garden stayed spaciously empty.
Empty is like “silence", it says volumes."
— Sharon Conlon via email


"I’ve lived a block away from the Sunks for 51 years and my kids played in the sunks for years…it needs to stay the way it is for future children to play…THANK YOU!"
— Kay J. (via email)


"Leave it alone. There is memorial park for all that venue stuff, including kids hanging out. It is nice to have it simple and open for kids to play a spontaneous game of football, soccer or the neighborhood ice rink. The traffic is a concern and there is a school and church right there. Keep it simple and green."
— A Dillon Fairacres resident." [requesting anonymity] (via email)

and this touching note -



For the Happy Hollow Sunks, Omaha definitely wants this:

Today in the Happy Hollow























Not hardscape, buildings and walls.disruption

The original published plan and media interviews with the developers touted weddings and concerts that will cause parking, traffic and clean-up problems. The Memorial Park Rose Garden is only two blocks away and already provides a much better venue for those events.
NOTE: In October, 2017, developers promised to provide a document of governance regarding maintenance and backing off their support of formal events. That written affirmation has yet to be presented.
Further, what is to prevent individuals from staging impromptu events once the venue is built?

Thanks to all the supporters who helped "Save the Sunks!"

Let the kids play.

kids play


© 2017-2018 SaveTheSunks.org - Efforts to preserve Omaha's Sunken Gardens greenspace along Happy Hollow Boulevard in the Dundee neighborhood

What Omaha is Saying