Despite the challenges of fundraising and construction amid the pandemic, Exploration Green officials and volunteers have made progress with the conservancy’s new parking lot and work on two more sections of land.

“As our world begins to return to somewhat normal, our volunteers are looking forward to a number of events and volunteer opportunities,” staff wrote in a July update. “Normal maintenance activities are resuming in the tree, wetland and prairie nurseries, with wetland and prairie grass planting opportunities already underway. Tree-planting opportunities are planned for this fall.”

Exploration Green is a 178-acre former golf course turned stormwater detention pond between El Camino Real, Bay Area Boulevard and Space Center Boulevard. The land is divided into five phases. Work is being done, or will begin soon, on Phases 3B, 4 and 5, per the July update.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held July 3 to celebrate the completion of the conservancy’s new parking lot. Excavation work on Phase 4 has made progress over the summer, and major construction will be completed before summer’s end, per the update.

Phase 3B—which is made up of the land north of 3A and ends at Penn Hills Lane, per the update—work is also slated to begin soon. According to the update, permitting and grant delays due to COVID-19 slowed the start of excavation on Phase 3B, but construction should begin this summer, and the construction work should be completed by mid-2022.

Preparations have begun for work in Phase 5 as well. The contractor had to move mud from the former golf course ponds to Phase 5 to allow it to properly dry before it is transported to permanent landfill locations, per the update. Construction of the “outfall” structure similar to Phase 1 is essentially complete, and work on the trails is also progressing.

The public is asked to stay off Phase 5’s trails until construction is complete for safety purposes, officials said in the update. The owner of the pipeline that runs across Phase 5 will be lowering the pipeline beneath the current flood control ditch later this summer, and construction can then begin in earnest on Phase 5.

A newly fenced area along Bay Area Boulevard was created to partially replace the tree, wetland and prairie nurseries when construction starts in that area later in 2021, per the update.

Read previous Community Impact Newspaper coverage here. Visitors can keep track of Exploration Green news via their website or Facebook page.