Union Grove State Park has received a $15,000 grant from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association.
Union Grove State Park is located in Tama County between the communities of Gladbrook and Garwin. Its primary focus is to serve the people of the Cedar Valley and Central Iowa with outdoor recreation. The park includes a 110 acre lake and beautiful wooded land. Recreation opportunities include a beach, fishing, hiking trails, picnic areas, camping, and a year around cabin for rent.
The Black Hawk County Gaming Association grant will be used for a second cabin at the park. Union Grove has long been a popular day use park, but has lagged behind in quality overnight lodging. The problem has been addressed over the past two years. The campground has been renovated with full hook-ups; it now has water, electricity, and sewer connections at the camp sites. There is also a new shower building. The highlight of the rejuvenation project is a new cabin.
There is now a need for a second cabin. The first cabin is very popular and a second cabin would make it possible for two families to vacation together. The second cabin will be identical to the first. It is a year round structure with heat and air conditioning. It sleeps four by way of a bedroom and a futon in the living area. The cabin has a fully furnished kitchen, full restroom and dining area. Outside is a covered patio and porch.
The new building will stand approximately 75 yards from the original and has a green screen of trees and shrubs between the two buildings for privacy. It is located in an ideal wooded area between the lake and campground. The lake is about 50 yards away from the cabin, and the campground is about 50 yards away making it convenient to visit friends and family camping nearby. The location makes efficient use of existing infrastructure including water, septic, electric, and roads.
With the generous grant of $15,000 from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association, along with very generous local donations, and matching dollars from the Iowa DNR, the funding is now completed for the new cabin. Construction is planned to begin this fall, with completion in 2014.
Union Grove has been an excellent example of the amazing things that can happen in the Cedar Valley when there is a private/public partnership. Local donors have worked with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the DNR to purchase 110 acres of the parks watershed to reduce siltation into the lake. The private money was matched by the DNR to initiate the original campground revitalization and the first cabin. The park has completed a reforestation project this fall planting over 100 nursery, container grown trees. This was brought about with private donations and the help of matching dollars from Trees Forever. Volunteers planted and cared for the trees, including many youth. Now the park will have a second cabin. This was brought about by private donations, Black Hawk County Gaming Association, and the Iowa DNR. By working together we can make the Cedar Valley a stronger and better place to live.
High quality outdoor recreation is important to the Cedar Valley. It increases the quality of life for its residents, and attracts more people and businesses to the area. People who participate in outdoor recreation enjoy better health both mentally and physically. Helping to improve the overnight lodging at Union Grove is one more way the Black Hawk County Gaming Association is working to improve life in the Cedar Valley.