Iowa volunteers who are looking for ways to help spruce up state parks can now get grants to pay for the supplies and equipment they’ll need to accomplish the task. Tom Basten, supervisor of the Iowa State Parks Southeast District, says the deadline to apply for the grants is this Thursday.
“The intent of the grant is to focus on projects that are basically park operations that the staff are having trouble getting done,” Basten says. “I’m seeing a lot of grants coming in for helping with installing fire grills, painting and repairing picnic tables, and I’m also seeing larger projects coming in like helping with a fishing bridge that needs to be replaced.”
Due to the tight state budget, some former staples of state parks are falling by the wayside, but Basten says all sorts of groups are now stepping forward to lend a hand. “We’ve got Boy Scouts, we’ve got Girl Scouts, we have our Friends groups,” Basten says. “I’ve got one group that’s a fire department that’s been mowing, using their own equipment and they want help with the purchase of fuel so they can continue helping keep the parks up.”
He says the grants are for a minimum of $500 and a one-page application is available at the park where the work will be done. The local park staff has to approve the project, he says, before the application can be turned in.
“We have a business contact us, wanting to come out and repair picnic tables,” Basten says. “It’s just an effort for that local business to get a volunteer work day going.”
The work needs to take place during the next fiscal year, between July first and June of 2011. For more information, contact your nearest state park or call (515) 281-0878.