Donations are still being accepted for the new Water Street Park in Decorah where the park's gazebo, above, is nearing completion. From left are David Finholt, of Finholt Construction, contractor for the gazebo, Chris Storlie, general manager of Deco Products of Decorah which donated the funds for the structure, DDBA President Mike Harman and DDBA member Mary Klimesh. (Decorah Newspapers photo by Sarah Strandberg)
Donations are still being accepted for the new Water Street Park in Decorah where the park's gazebo, above, is nearing completion. From left are David Finholt, of Finholt Construction, contractor for the gazebo, Chris Storlie, general manager of Deco Products of Decorah which donated the funds for the structure, DDBA President Mike Harman and DDBA member Mary Klimesh. (Decorah Newspapers photo by Sarah Strandberg)

Noticeable progress has been made on the new Water Street Park, but there is still time to contribute to the project.

The roof on the park's centerpiece gazebo was recently completed, and the walls made from brick from the former East Side School were being finished this week.

The new park is located in the south portion of the city's parking lot northeast of the Water Street/River Street intersection and includes the Norm Smith Plaza kiosk and landscaping. It expands along Water Street to the entrance of the Oneota Food Coop.

The project was initiated by the Decorah Downtown Betterment Association (DDBA) to be a gathering place complete with artwork, bench seating, trees and plantings in the heart of the downtown. It's being paid for through financial and in-kind donations.

According to DDBA President Mike Harman, 85 percent of the fund-raising goal has been met, with $23,000 yet to be raised. Naming rights remain, he said. For a minimum donation of $250, the donor's name will appear on a plaque in the park. Permeable pavers can be purchased for $1,000, and the donor's name will be listed for donating at that level.

The DDBA selected permeable pavers for the park surface for their environmental benefits.

"The permeable pavers cost considerably more than a limestone chip base, but they help with filtering, water runoff and provide an aesthetically pleasing look with some color and design to bring all other components of the park together, and most importantly offer a fairly flat surface for moving around on," Harman said.



"The park will not be completed until the end of October due to availability of the permeable pavers. The pavers are ordered and being manufactured, but it will be September before they get here," he added.

The DDBA also has decided to pay to have the entrance to the city parking area located below the park, for safety reasons and to preserve more parking spots.



Major donor

Deco Products in Decorah is a major park donor, contributing the funds for the gazebo, Harman said.

"I really enjoy being part of Decorah and love to take part in helping make it an even more enjoyable place," said DECO General Manager Chris Storlie.

"It's rewarding to help with projects like this."



Finholt Construction is the contractor for the gazebo. It features a cedar shingle roof, and the Douglas fir frame came from wood salvaged from East Side School. The foundation includes limestone from East Side. Masonry block in the foundation will not be visible after the area is landscaped, David Finholt said.

Bricks from East Side may also be used as flooring in the gazebo, he added.

The gazebo will be a place for performances or where local citizens and visitors can get out of the sun, Harman said. It will have electricity and lighting.



Art work for the park - two deer sculptures - was donated by Paul Scott in memory of his late wife, Sally. Landscaping will include an evergreen that can be decorated during the holidays, and a flag will be flown above the park.

There will be six tables, with chairs, and the existing bench in the plaza will be relocated, Harman said.



Anyone interested in making a donation for the project should contact: Harman, 382-2020; Andy Nelson, 382-3647; Chris Miller, 382-4284; David Lester, 382-4666; or Jon Wilmes, 382-3657.