In Fall of 2020, Downtown Decorah Betterment Association, in response to a Downtown Assessment completed by Iowa Economic Development Authority, pursued the creation of a new park at the corner of Water Street and Riverside. The location was identified in the assessment as a possible “Dry Run Parklet” and one of the gateway markers that could indicate to visitors coming into town from the east that they were entering the downtown district.

The DDBA board felt that the scope of the parklet project was achievable for their group and wanted to work alongside other efforts of implementation following the assessment. The board launched the project in close partnership with the City of Decorah, Decorah Bank & Trust, and Oneota Valley Family Eye Care. Now complete, after overcoming pandemic supply chain issues and delays, the Dry Run Plaza is the newest addition to the Decorah Parks system. It features a shade structure, drinking fountain, seating, a free little library, and charming gathering space.

More than $170,000 in private funding was secured by the planning and fundraising subcommittee. Together with in-kind efforts from the city, the value of the project exceeds $200,000.

The Landscape Architecture firm Jeffrey L. Bruce & Co. completed conceptual drawings. Contractors who worked on the project include Wicks Construction, Driftless Gardens, Marso Electric, Erdman Engineering, Vick’s Plumbing and Heating, and Perry Novak Electric. More than 141 generous donors supported the project including major donations from Decorah Bank & Trust, Oneota Valley Family Eye Care, Bruening Rock Products, McClure Engineering, and an allocation from SSMID.

DDBA is a nonprofit organization serving the downtown district of Decorah, Iowa. The volunteer board members are Matt Burkey, Marcia McKelvey, Mike Harman, Cindy Simpson, Joe Grimstad, Lynne Rilling, Nate Furler, Wanda Gardner, Andy Nelson, Mark Lovelace, Jenny Harman. Photo: Planning & Fundraising Subcommittee Members for the Project (L to R): Mark Lovelace, Joe Grimstad, Harlan Satrom, Mike Harman, Jeremy Bril, Andy Nimrod