The Central Gardens Board of Directors is pleased to announce the completion of a successful capital campaign that was launched in 2019 in anticipation of the Garden’s 20th anniversary in 2020.  Originally the campaign set a goal to raise $220,000 to fund twelve upgrades to the grounds, all slated for completion by the end of the 2020 season.

“The north Iowa community’s response has been overwhelming, and we are pleased to announce that the total amount raised was nearly $350,000,” indicated board treasurer Ann Grochala.  “What’s truly exciting is not only surpassing our goal as we did, but also being able to contribute half of all monies raised to our permanent endowment, as per board policy, ensuring Central Gardens’ existence in perpetuity.”

Work on many of the twelve projects has already been completed or is in process.  “We’ve already added a significant number of trees and shrubs to the 8th street side of the property, all designed to create a significant sound barrier between the Gardens and the street,” indicated Bob Rennebohm, Central Gardens board member and registered Landscape Architect who drew up plans pro bono for the Upgrade effort.  “The fountain at the main entrance has been remodeled, there are new welcome banners hanging from four lampposts on 8th street, the Ceremonial Lawn has had new irrigation and drainage systems installed, new finials have been mounted on the pillars at the south gate, and a new arch and a sliding gate feature at the south entrance will soon be added,” Rennebohm noted.

Other projects include the addition of a sign at the northwest corner of the property, new lighting at the south corner, on the Nature Education Pavilion and throughout the grounds, ground drainage corrections at the Mother Earth Workshop, development of a plant identification system, and enhancements to the water feature at the top of the stream adjacent to the Ceremonial Lawn.

Because the original goal was surpassed, other projects previously relegated to the wish list can now be completed.  Two of the major ones are relocating the mulch pit to the east side of the activity lawn and adding a new garden and seating area just south of the cutting garden.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, a formal community celebration has been delayed until 2021 when all of the improvements will be on display.  A listing of all donors will appear in the Mirror-Reporter and the 2020 Central Gardens Annual Report.

The board wishes to thank honorary co-chairs Paul Barnds and Shawn Sabin, Gary and Diane Laabs, and Corine Hadley for their guidance, generosity, and fund-raising efforts.  Thanks also goes to John Severtson and Kirby Schmidt, community fund-raisers.

“This successful campaign will ensure that Central Gardens of North Iowa will continue to be a premier destination and community asset for the next twenty years,” commented board vice-president Becke Dorenbush.  “We are so grateful to all the businesses, individuals, foundations, trusts, and public entities that supported our efforts.  In spite of these uncertain times, north Iowans have recognized what an important role Central Gardens plays in providing a place of respite and beauty for so many.”

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