New Shelter Caps ‘Year of Parks’ | News, Sports, Jobs
The recent completion of a beautiful new picnic shelter in West Twin Park, built from a kit by local volunteers, brings an end to Webster City’s “the year of the parks”.
In 2021, in some of the most difficult times of the Covid 19 pandemic, Webster City turned to two of its traditional strengths; its parks and a strong spirit of volunteerism on the part of its residents.
Throughout 2021, city staff and local volunteers made improvements to virtually every park in the city; an impressive achievement for any year.
Work on the pavilion-style open structure at West Twin Park was completed in mid-April; signifying the end of city-wide park improvement projects. The building was manufactured and sold in kit form by Cedar Forest Products of West Olive Michigan, assembled at the factory to ensure it fit together properly, then disassembled and shipped to Webster City.
The cost of the kit was $113,440. Roofing materials, which were not included in the kit, were purchased from Lamperts Lumber Co in Webster City. The new shelter replaces a similar, smaller, older building on the southwest corner of the park, which was demolished in the fall of 2020. Used by several generations of Webster Citians for family gatherings, it was also the site of well-known summer performances by the town brass band.
Many local people and businesses provided materials and labor to complete the new shelter. A list of them, provided to the Daily Freeman Journal from several sources, is presented in the adjacent box. Their volunteer contributions and labor saved about $60,000, which is what a contractor could have charged to build the structure, according to Larry Flaws, director of recreation and public lands. At a time when the city’s budget was being hit hard by covid-19 related expenses, the effort of the volunteers made it possible to complete the building in time for this spring’s graduation receptions and events throughout. throughout summer and fall.
The new shelter, measuring 64 feet by 36 feet, is larger than its predecessor and closer to the center of the park. Constructed of beautiful, durable cedar and topped with a copper-like metal roof, the shelter offers a “waterproof” exit to the picnic tables under the roof. A kitchenette with sink, hot and cold water and plenty of electrical outlets – everything you need to cook an al fresco meal – services the pavilion through two counter-height rolling doors.
The restrooms on the north side of the shelter are open to the public during normal park hours. The refuge can be rented for a half-day (either from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.) for $38.50, payable in advance. A full day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. can be reserved for $77. Reservations are handled by Fuller Hall and can be made by calling 515-832-9193.
Flaws reports that public interest in renting the pavilion is high, with many events for 2022 already scheduled.
A study published in the journal Land in 2020 showed that outdoor recreation increased by 20% in the United States during the pandemic, with more than half of all adults exercising outdoors at least once a month.
JUST IN STEP
Webster City is in tune with this trend; making improvements to nearly every park in the city in 2021. These include not only upgrades to amenities and facilities already in place, but also entirely new facilities, equipment, and ways to use and enjoy them. ‘benefit.
The most visible changes are at East Twin Park where a new play area with slides, swings and climbing apparatus has been installed. Next to the brightly colored playground is an outdoor fitness center complete with stationary bikes, step trainers, a “fitness rope”, pull up bars, set of three plyometric steps, even a set of tai chi spinners. The skate park, more welcoming since the removal of its perimeter fence, is right next door. The final improvements to East Twin Park will be made this year when a new outdoor pickleball court is completed and the reconstruction of public restrooms is complete. With all East Twin facilities accessible by new, smooth, level concrete sidewalks, the park is now 100% accessible in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.
The grading, footings, materials and labor for these sidewalks were donated by Habhab Construction, who also donated materials and labor for the new sidewalks at Wilson Brewer Park in 2021.
“Jeff Habhab is a ‘willing superhero’ whose donations to our parks will last a generation,” notes Faults.
Schlotfeldt Engineering, which donated survey work for the new East Twin Park sidewalks, joined the effort.
Also in 2021, a large playground structure for Nokomis Park was purchased in kit form from Boland Recreation, Marshalltown. Assembly was done by city staff from all departments, saving approximately $25,000.
At Kendall Young Park, the historic limestone entrance gates were repointed and new roofing was put on three of the park’s shelters. Lion’s Park got new concrete sidewalks providing easy access to the previously installed ADA accessible playground. In Wilson Brewer Park, six preserved historic buildings have been connected by new concrete sidewalks.
A $2,000 grant from Marion-based Trees Forever paid for new trees, which were carefully selected by Assistant Director of Recreation and Public Lands Breann Lesher as part of a long-term plan to to improve the landscaping of the parks. The grant specifically required student participation in the planting of donated trees. The 26 new trees paid for with this money were eagerly planted last fall by sophomores, assisted and supervised by fellow high school students.
Joining another national trend, Webster City organized the placement of 10 rental bikes at Brewer Creek Park and Riverside Park; five at each location. The bright orange bikes were supplied by Pocahontas-based Koloni Inc, which calls itself “a sharing platform allowing users to own and deploy their own smart lockers, bikeshares and scooters.” Rentals can be booked on the Koloni app and cost $2 per hour. Bikes can be rented or left at either location in Webster City.
As spring turns into summer and you plan your own special afternoon in the parks, don’t forget to thank the many volunteers who help make it possible. Better yet, why not call the Recreation and Public Lands Department at 832.9193 and ask how you can volunteer your time and talents?
THIS PROBLEM PARK
An unsolicited offer to buy East Twin Park for a new retail store on the site in early 2020, mobilized and energized the Webster Citians to demonstrate how much the park meant to them.
Powered by local organizers, multiple GoFundMe and Enhance Hamilton County accounts, and a generous matching grant from the Wellmark Foundation, the park has been extensively rebuilt and has more to offer visitors than at any point in its long history.
East Twin Park appeared to serve as the catalyst for an unprecedented program of park improvements in Webster City.
In addition to earmarked funds in the municipal budget each year, even during the pandemic, and dedicated municipal staff, volunteers have always played an important and important role.
Here is a list of known volunteers who helped complete the new West Twin Park Picnic Shelter. This is probably not a complete list; apologies to those whose names were inadvertently omitted.
Ashley and Lance Dinsdale
Jeff Habhab (and the team at Habhab Construction Inc.)
Amilcar Vasquez (and the A+Roofing team)
Jerry and Steve Wells