‘Ahead of schedule’

Cosgrove gives nature center project update to Board of Supervisors

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
The River's Edge Discovery Center project is about 80% complete, Webster County Conservation Director Matt Cosgrove told the Webster County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

GOWRIE — The River’s Edge Discovery Center project is “way ahead of schedule,” the Webster County Board of Supervisors learned during its meeting Tuesday morning.

“The project is really coming along,” said Webster County Conservation Director Matt Cosgrove. “They got a lot of outside work done here last week with the good weather, so trees are planted and a lot of landscaping stuff going in.”

The nature center project along the Des Moines River on First Street north of Central Avenue is about 80 percent complete, Cosgrove said. Of the $6.7 million budget, just over $6 million has been spent. Jensen Builders Ltd., of Fort Dodge, is the contractor for the project.

The project is being funded through a $4 million Destination Iowa grant from the state, a $300,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and through private donations.

The Nature Center building will be focused on Iowa’s water resources. The center exhibit space will feature an array of exhibits on the water cycle, wetlands, glaciers and rivers and streams. Taylor Studios, an exhibition design firm out of Rantoul, Illinois, is working on building the water-themed exhibits that will be featured.

The exhibits, which were bid to Taylor Studios for $1.7 million, are also about 80 percent complete, Cosgrove said. Installation is scheduled to start the last week of February and is expected to take two weeks to complete.

But before the exhibits can be installed, two artists from Des Moines will be painting several large murals around the space in January, he said.

A tour for the supervisors to see the project for themselves will be scheduled in the coming weeks, Cosgrove said.

“We’re looking at, hopefully by sometime this spring, to wrap up the project and then we’ll still be looking at a ribbon-cutting in early summer or July,” he said.

Cosgrove also gave updates on other county quality-of-life projects. The county is working on recreational trail projects around Dayton and Gowrie — each estimated at about $1.5 million — that are still in the early phases of permitting and land acquisition, but are expected to go to bid in January. Construction is expected to begin in February and be complete in October 2024.

“Hopefully with one construction season we can have both of those projects completely done,” Cosgrove said.

The recreational trail being built between Fort Dodge and Badger is expected to wrap up around August 2024. The $3.3 million project is about 20 percent complete at this point, Cosgrove said.

Due to HVAC construction happening in the Webster County Courthouse, the Board of Supervisors has chosen to take its regular meetings “on the road.” Tuesday’s meeting was held at the district offices for the Southeast Valley Community School District in Gowrie. The Dec. 5 meeting will be held at the Dayton Community Center.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today