Home on the ranch
Lizard Creek multi-purpose venue is open
There appears to be no shortage of recreation opportunities at Lizard Creek Ranch.
Weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, conferences, team building exercises, or a place for construction workers to lay their heads, are some of the uses for the expansive property west of Fort Dodge.
“It’s a multi-purpose recreation venue,” Jason Kahler, of Fort Dodge, said. “There’s so many different things.”
A grand opening for the ranch, located at 1762 Johnson Ave., was held last night.
Kahler along with Fred Weers and Jake Hilton, both of Badger, are the owners of Lizard Creek Ranch.
Kahler, a retired Fort Dodge police officer, is the owner of Dale’s Corner Store and Self-Serve Laundromat.
Weers is a realtor and co-owner of CEC electric. Hilton is co-owner of CEC Electric.
The group took ownership of the 33-acre property in the summer of 2018.
It has been a hub of activity ever since, according to Weers.
“We have had five or six construction workers out here every day for the last year,” he said.
Fifteen separate buildings are located on the former Rabiner Treatment Center property.
Three buildings are rented to Manson Northwest Webster Community School District for a consortium school.
The rest of the buildings are available for rent.
According to Weers, there are six cottages. Three of them are for construction workers. Two are for an event center.
Weers said he is still deciding how to best utilize the other cottage.
One of the cottages, called Cedar Cottage, has a rustic theme, according to April Cowell.
The cottage was completely remodeled with new furniture and appliances. It accommodates 18 people.
Another cottage next door will have a lodge theme, Cowell said. That one is still undergoing renovations, she said.
Also on the property is Timber Creek Hall, the main event space; and Ironwood Conference Center used for business meetings.
Timber Creek Hall accommodates 560 people. The IronWood Conference Center accommodates 70.
Companies such as Cargill have used the space for training, Kahler said.
Cost to rent the facilities varies based on the package, according to Cowell.
Cowell said the complex is available for small groups to 1,000 attendees indoors. The campus features large outdoor space for events hosting in the thousands.
Kahler said there’s office space available.
“We have space for about three offices,” he said. “The space would be ideal for a traveling businessperson.”
Camping and other activities will be part of the amenities at the ranch.
“We would like to do the campsite,” Weers said. “I would like to have two smaller ponds, frisbee golf, horseshoes, basketball, baseball. We are trying get kayaking on Lizard Creek — a golf driving range.”
Kahler said there might be a smaller concessions area.
In terms of employees, Weers said the ranch may employee between 10 and 15.
Kahler said there’s already been a variety of events at Lizard Creek Ranch.
“We have had a bridal shower in the cottage,” he said. “There was a holiday party here. We have had one wedding so far. There’s another one planned for June.”
Cowell said Lizard Creek Ranch is unique in the fact that it’s located out in the country, but not too far from Fort Dodge.
“There’s blacktop roads all the way out here,” she said. “It’s quiet.”
Cowell moved from Omaha, Nebraska, to Fort Dodge six years ago with her husband, who is an employee at Cargill.
“The potential of Fort Dodge is really what made our decision to come here,” she said.
She’s happy to be part of the Lizard Creek Ranch development.
“I think the community will really latch onto this and it makes me proud to be part of something like this,” Cowell said. We have been here 6 years and fort dodge has changed a lot in 6 years.”
Weers added, “It has improved dramatically.”