$50,000 grant sought for State Park plan

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

A new planning committee is building on its hopes to bring in a park planning firm to develop a conceptual plan of the proposed state park for Storm Lake.

Storm Lake Mayor Jon Kruse said the committee has applied for a $50,000 Community Development grant through the Iowa Department of Economic Development to help fund the conceptual plan.

Kruse said a work session is being organized for members of the Storm Lake State Park Planning Committee, which includes representatives from a variety of area organizations, such as the City of Storm Lake, Buena Vista County, Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake Schools and other local businesses.

Also under review are proposals from park planners on developing a conceptual plan for the Storm Lake attraction.

The park committee has met once with David Ciaccio of the Omaha-based land planning firm Ciaccio Dennell Group.

The Ciaccio Dennell Group has designed several projects, including the Sioux City riverfront and the proposed riverfront project in Fort Dodge.

Major components of a Storm Lake plan most likely would be an aquatic center, a unification of the LakeTrail and additional new trails, and other enhancements to the lakefront. A state park would also use existing amenities, such as the city golf course and campground.

More ambitious possibilities include a possible overnight lodge and conference center next to the lake.

The development effort for a Storm Lake State Park must follow four guidelines, according to Ciaccio. A project must:

* be visionary in scope, but practical to implement,

* have an understanding of the past and present,

* include the people of the community in an honest way,

* act as a "spark plug" for future economic development.

Ciaccio estimated a state park master plan and a hotel feasibility study to cost between $50,000 and $75,000.

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