Decorah Rotary Club ‘binzebo’ project breaks ground at Carlson Park

Decorah Park and Rec board member Brian Fuhrman and Park Superintendent John Geiger work on the “binzebo” in the Park and Rec shed prior to building it at Carlson Park. The two built a jig to the exact specifications of the binzebo, which they were able to use to mark off where to dig at the park. (submitted photos)

In the cold early morning hours of Feb. 16, volunteer Travis Grawin dug a series of eight holes at Carlson Park. They don’t look like much yet, but they are the beginning of a new phase of development for the park, and the site of the Decorah Rotary Club Binzebo. The binzebo (a gazebo made out of a grain bin) will eventually become the entry hub of a brand-new series of bike-optimized trails that can connect back to the park’s existing two-mile loop. 

Carlson Park is a 115-acre park sitting on Siewers Spring Road in Decorah near the Catholic cemetery. Donated by the Rick and David Carlson families in 2016, Carlson Park is one of the newest parks in Decorah and is in the early stages of development. The current park includes options for hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Decorah Rotary Club secured a $5,000 District Grant from Rotary District 5970 and donated $7,000 of club funds to cover the cost of the binzebo, which will be the first element built in this new phase of development. Other preliminary projects will include completing professional planning and construction of the NW Feature Trail, which will allow pedestrian and bicycle traffic into the park, as well as novice and intermediate trail systems. Trails will be bike optimized for riders of all abilities, and include additional hiking, running and snow sports options. 

“Carlson Park is a fabulous new addition to the Decorah Park Trail System. It will offer beginner to expert hiking and biking for all ages!” said Rotary Board Member Dr. Kelly Reagan, “The Decorah Rotary Club is proud to take the lead, once again, on enhancing the trail system in beautiful Decorah. Sponsoring the central hub gazebo is a perfect catalyst for additional growth and expansion for this wonderful new outdoor opportunity for Decorah.” 

Park organizers have established a fund through the Winneshiek County Community Foundation, with a goal of raising $250,000 to complete this phase of park development. The Rotary’s contribution of $14,000 is the first major gift towards the completion of this project. Decorah Rotary Club funds are raised through events like pork chop booths at the Winneshiek County Fair and Nordic Fest and the Decorah Rotary Club Chili Supper. 

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