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17 Iowa organizations will receive Wellmark Foundation Large MATCH grants

May 20, 2019

Des Moines, IA — The Wellmark Foundation has notified 17 Iowa organizations they will receive Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grants up to $100,000, contingent upon securing the matching funds. To ensure community support for these projects, organizations are challenged to match the award amount dollar-for-dollar. Organizations have until August 23 to secure their matching funds. Each of these grant recipients submitted projects that can help individuals, families and communities achieve better health through built environment initiatives that encourage physical activity.

"Through their applications, each of these organizations demonstrated they had broad community support for their projects," said Becky Wampler Bland, The Wellmark Foundation executive director. "Because of the support, they are well on their way to obtaining the funds they need to reach their required match for the grant. Each of these projects will be a game changer in their communities as they provide more options for physical activity which will enhance the quality of life and overall well-being of their citizens."

The organizations selected to receive the grant have demonstrated their grants are sustainable and will help to improve the well-being of the communities they serve well into the future. The 17 organizations include:

Black Hawk County Conservation Department, $43,600
Cedar Valley Nature Trail Reconstruction
Approximately a quarter mile of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail at mile marker 13.75, located north of McFarlane Park near La Porte City will be reconstructed. The surface of the trail in this section has been compromised due to burrowing muskrats causing settlement and a hazardous washboard effect to the surface.

Buchanan County Conservation Department, $73,715
Iron Bridge Access - Gateway for River Use on the Wapsipinicon River
The Conservation Board intends to improve safety at the Iron Bridge Access by installing a universal launch access on a state-designated water trail. The project includes an improved boat ramp, a secondary ramp, a transfer area to help people load, unload, enter and exit the river, and a sidewalk for easy and safe access to the water. An expanded parking area is also included in the project so more residents will be able to access the water trail for increased outdoor recreation and activity.

Cerro Gordo County Conservation Department, $45,000
Prairie Land Trail – Phases Three & Four
The Prairie Land Trail project will continue the creation of a recreational trail on an abandoned railway surface in Cerro Gordo County. This will involve converting the existing railroad surface to an engineer-designed recreational trail and safely renovating one wooden bridge into a suitable and safe crossing for recreational traffic.

City of Centerville, $49,168
Accessible City Sidewalks
The city of Centerville is creating an integrated sidewalk/trail system, using Safe Routes to School concepts. This project includes completing the construction of 6-foot-wide pedestrian paths that will connect to an existing trail/path system. By doing this, accessibility will increase to existing recreation trails and provide safe access to businesses currently only accessible by automobiles.

City of Cherokee, $100,000
Magnetic Park Trail Development
This trail development project will add 0.83 miles of paved trails and 1.25 miles of soft trails in Cherokee. These trails will be developed throughout Magnetic Park, a sprawling 50-acre setting that was acquired specifically to develop trails in a safe and scenic environment. The paved trails will loop around a historic barn and pond and will allow visitors to explore restored prairie lands, woodlands and wetlands in Magnetic Park. The soft trails will go through the park and allow visitors to travel by foot, mountain bike or cross-country skiing. The trails will also offer outdoor classroom opportunities for visitors of all ages.

City of Keokuk, $100,000
South Riverfront Corridor Trail
The city of Keokuk is working to initiate the development of a riverfront trail system. The proposed one-mile trail will connect several riverfront amenities along Mississippi Drive, including Victory Park, Hubinger Landing and the South Side Boat Club. The proposed concrete trail will be 10 feet wide with 2 foot shoulders, and connect with an existing sidewalk on North Water Street. The project involves resurfacing approximately 1,600 feet of existing trail and a 3,600-foot extension further along the Mississippi river. The trail will provide the first-ever dedicated multi-use path that connects all facilities and amenities along the full extent of Keokuk's south riverfront area.

City of Mount Vernon, $100,000
School/Wellness Center Trail
The Mount Vernon School/Wellness Center Trail project will construct a 1/4-mile-long, 8-foot-wide paved trail. This project includes lighting, benches, landscaping and if budget allows, an exercise station. In addition, the trail will provide a safe route for children to walk and bike to school.

City of New Hampton, $100,000
New Hampton TRIBE Trail - Phase Two
The TRIBE Trail project is a three-phase project that will connect two well-used trails together for increased outdoor recreation and activity for both community residents and visitors. After successfully completing phase one, the city of New Hampton is ready to engage in phase two which will join the one mile trail near Mikkelson Park to another located near the Industrial Park. Phase two of the TRIBE Trail project will continue to expand environments where users can safely walk, jog and bike.

City of Osceola, $100,000
Clay Street Park Development
The Clay Street Park is a future one-acre park which includes several amenities: a playground, Life Trail adult exercise equipment, shade structures, landscaping with an open space, sidewalks, trails, paved pavilion, water fountain, shelter house, restroom building and benches. This park is also designed with a poured rubber mat, derived from recycled tires, so that the area will be accessible to all.

City of Sergeant Bluff, $25,000
Bishop Park Splash Pad
The Bishop Park Splash Pad will create a new park in Sergant Bluff which will include recreation options not found at any of the community’s existing parks. The project includes the creation and installation of a splash pad.

City of Urbandale, $50,000
Urbandale All-Inclusive Playground Project
The city of Urbandale, along with a group of citizen volunteers, is raising funds to construct an all-inclusive playground in Urbandale’s Northview Park next to the recently completed Urbandale Miracle League field. The all-inclusive playground will feature specialized surfacing and adaptive play structures accessible for individuals of all abilities, but especially those with special needs. It will offer play features intended to attract large numbers of children and adults outside to play, with amenities to engage the senses and enhanced safety features.

City of Washington, $100,000
Wellness Park Trail Connection to Kewash Nature Trail
As part of the development of a 80-acre regional park, the city of Washington is beginning work on phase one which includes a sports complex with four ballfields and two multi-use fields. The goal is to have phase one complete by the spring of 2020 to welcome athletes of all abilities to the newly completed fields. The complex is located just 2,900 feet north of the 14-mile Kewash Nature Trail. Phase One work will also include a spur from the Kewash Nature Trail to the new complex. The trail spur will also link the future YMCA building to the Kewash Nature Trail and complex.

Dickinson County Trails Board, $100,000
Jones Pasture Trail
The Jones Pasture Trail involves the construction of a 10-foot wide concrete recreational trail through Jones Pasture on the northeast side of Big Spirit Lake in Dickinson County. The project will extend the existing Iowa Great Lakes Spine Trail to reach Angler's Bay Wildlife Management Area where a future trail will be built. The Jones Pasture Trail will also create a connection to the entire Iowa Great Lakes Trails system through the East Okoboji Slough and Pioneer Beach Trails.

Hardin County, $100,000
Iowa River Trail
The Iowa River Trail is a 34-mile trail project on a former railroad between the communities of Marshalltown and Steamboat Rock. The trail is being developed in phases in an effort to safely open segments for public use as soon as each phase is complete. This project includes the rehabilitation and conversion of seven former railroad bridges to trail use between Steamboat Rock and Gifford. These bridges are currently unsafe for pedestrian or bicycle traffic with exposed railroad ties and no railings. Improving these structures for permanent trail use will allow safe access along 9.3 miles of the scenic Iowa River Trail.

Southeast Iowa Swim Club, $100,000
Dankwardt Pool Bubble Project
The Dankwardt Pool bubble project will convert Burlington's outdoor city pool into a year-round facility, more than doubling the available time for swimming and aquatic activity. The project will add a movable bubble structure that will cover the 50-meter pool from September through May. This structure would be the first of its kind in Iowa and allows residents to continuously utilize the pool instead of being restricted to only the summer months.

The Ames Foundation, $100,000
Ames Miracle Playground and Field
The Ames Miracle Playground and Field Project will feature an all-inclusive playground and Miracle League Field. It will be the first active recreational area of its kind in Ames promoting unencumbered play for children and adults of all abilities and will serve as an important outreach tool educating the public on the importance of fostering involvement by everyone in the community.

Woodward-Granger Community School District, $92,425
Woodward-Granger Early Learning Center Playground
The Woodward-Granger Community School District is installing a new playground at the Early Learning Center to provide physical activity opportunities for students and Granger residents. This multi-phase, comprehensive playground update will include a concrete surface with painted markings, basketball hoops, green space, playground equipment and fencing. This playground will be used by students during recess, physical education class time, and before-and-after school programming, and then by community residents year-round. As one of five parks/play spaces in the Granger community, this space will greatly increase access to physical activity.

Since 2011, The Wellmark Foundation has provided more than $9 million in grant funding to communities across Iowa and South Dakota. View previous Wellmark Foundation MATCH grant recipients.