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Union Grove State Park and the Iowa Parks Foundation

December 28, 2012
Northern-Sun Print
The Iowa Parks Foundation was initiated in 2008 by then former Governor Terry Branstad and former Congressman Neil Smith. Both Branstad and Smith still serve on the all-volunteer board along with representatives from Meredith Corporation, Doll Distributing, Hy-Vee, Keep Iowa Beautiful, and others. Former area resident Ann (Sharp) Raisch also serves on the board. The mission of the Iowa Parks Foundation is to partner public money with private money. In this way parks we can make extra improvements to our parks without increasing the burden on tax revenues. The foundation has worked with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to survey Iowans for their input on what they would like to see in their state parks. The original survey pertained to building and structure design. The survey determined Iowan’s would like to see architectural design similar to what the Civil Conservation Corps built during the Great Depression. The new “parkitecture” as it is being called, will incorporate stone and wooden timbers. Last year the IPF hired a professional survey team. The survey questions were gathered from Iowan’s from across the state. The survey was then completed by 1,200 Iowan’s and 600 people from outside the state who use our state parks. People were asked questions such as what did they like about their parks, what activities they enjoyed such as hiking and camping, and how often they visited a state park. The survey showed 79% of Iowans visited a state park in the past two years. The next step will be to develop a strategic plan. A professional firm has been contracted to develop the plan. The finished result will reflect the wants of Iowan’s in their state parks and prioritize those needs. It is important to know, all the costs of these surveys and strategic plans were funded with private donations at no cost to the tax payers. Last year the first project of the IPF was held at Pine Lake. The park suffered incredible damage to its forest from the massive 2009 hailstorm. The project was a reforestation project. Union Grove has been selected as the foundation’s second project. This will be the first capital building project of the Iowa Parks Foundation. The Union Grove Project is a new cabin to match the existing one completed last year. The cabin is a year around facility with heat and air conditioning. It sleeps four and includes a fully furnished kitchen, full bath, dining and living area, and bedroom. Outside is a covered patio and porch. The DNR has appropriated $90,000 and the IPF is contributing $30,000. The remaining $30,000 will need to come from private donations. One of the criteria of the IPF is local support for the park. Please donate to help place Union Grove in good standing for future projects. Make checks payable to the “Iowa Parks Foundation”, a tax deductible 501 C 3 charity, which will hold and dispense funds to complete the project. In the notations part of the check please write “Union Grove”. Send checks to “Iowa Parks Foundation C/O Joe Gunderson, 321 E Walnut Street, Suite 300, Des Moines, Iowa, 50309. Further questions can be sent to Roger Thompson Union Grove Park Manager at 641-473-2556 or Iowa Parks Foundation board member Ann (Sharp) Raisch at 641-640-0145. The foundation looks forward to partnering with the Iowa DNR and the local community in bringing this improvement to Union Grove State Park.  

Article Photos

Beautiful sunrise from dam at Union Grove lake.



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