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Dirt being delivered for about a month now is bringing the Gene Leahy Mall closer to street level. The operation has already leveled up the downtown park between 13th and 14th Streets.

Just to fill you in on the dirt operation for the Gene Leahy Mall project: It’s a huge job.

Dump trucks for Omaha’s Pink Grading have been dropping off loads of fill dirt, one after the other after the other, for about a month now.

Truckload by truckload, the once-sunken, terraced downtown park is rising up to street level. Already, the operation has leveled up the park between 13th and 14th Streets.

There’s much more to go.

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The Gene Leahy Mall renovation continues as dirt begins to bring the area closer to street level.

Kristyna Engdahl, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, which is overseeing construction on the $290 million “tri-park” project, said the fill work is expected to take until the end of this year, with occasional pauses for utility and demolition work.

In all, according to MECA, crews will drop off 93,000 cubic yards of fill dirt, or some 9,300 dump truck loads.

How much dirt is that?

(Well, it’s enough to fill Gene Leahy Mall to street level between 11th and 14th Streets. Ha!)

But a little cubic yard calculation also shows it’s enough dirt to cover a football field — endzone to endzone, sideline to sideline — to a depth of about 44 feet.

It’s unclear exactly where the dirt is coming from.

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Engdahl said it’s not from another single construction site. Instead, she said, Pink Grading gathers dirt from different projects where it works around the city, drops that dirt at the company’s “borrow site” and hauls dirt downtown from there.

The progress on the filling work shows how quickly the site is transforming.

The project started in early March and already has cleared the lagoon, concrete terraces and structures, and trees and grass down to 11th Street.

By 2020, the park renovation will continue to Heartland of America Park and Lewis & Clark Landing.

Private donors are funding the bulk of the project, with the City of Omaha committing $50 million in bonds, then $3 million a year for maintenance costs.

The new Gene Leahy Mall is due to reopen in 2021, and the whole project is scheduled to be finished in late 2023.

Jeff Robb dives into data for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @jeffreyrobb. Phone: 402-444-1128.

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