information about the clarke county education center at east lake park in osceola iowa

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The recent updates around Osceola’s East Lake Park have been numerous. Just over the past handful of years, the area has undergone a facelift like no other recreational camping area in south central Iowa. With new camper, hauler, and mobile trailer facilities, fishing access and activities, walking and biking trails and more, the park has become a shining diamond in the parks and trails system that winds through Osceola. On Monday, August 14th, Scott Kent, Director of Clarke County Conservation, will be presenting the next development to the Clarke County Board of Supervisors, looking for majority support to financially move forward with the East Lake Education building.

“This development is focused on bringing even more event opportunities to our park,” said Kent. “With the Supervisors’ support, we’ll have a full offering of outdoor and indoor education and community event opportunities right in our back yard.”

The new Education Building’s development was spurred on by a need for additional public programming space, space that can be self-sustaining through year-round educational events, day camps, and more. Kent also emphasized the park’s intention to make the facility available to rent to the public for special events like graduation parties and reunions. With a full kitchen, a large banquet area, as well as capacity for about 160 people, the building will be quite attractive for groups of all sizes.

Click through the images below to see architectural renderings of the proposed venue:

“Just like the camping areas, we intend to take registration and payment for the center online,” said Kent. “This will keep future administration costs down and make bookings as quick and easy as possible.”

Monday’s Supervisors meeting will determine the final financial support for the project. More than $500,000 of the $1.1 Million project has already been locked in from generous local grants and donations including a $200,000 grant from Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) and $200,000 from Clarke County Housing. That, along with numerous financial commitments from around the community leaves approximately $600,000 to be financed. With zero-interest loan options from Clarke County REC and a loan from a local bank, the final financing can be realized with a simple show of support from the County.

“We’re looking to the County Supervisors to see the future benefits this community center will bring Clarke County,” said Kent. “If we get approval Monday, we’ll be breaking ground and building Tuesday.”

“Scott’s commitment to this project has been nothing less than stellar,” said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director. “His ability to facilitate the parks and trails developments and make Clarke County a destination location has been exciting to witness over the years.”

With budgets being reviewed, Kent also was able to cut annual equipment and upkeep costs by more than $20,000 in 2023-24 to help with the financing of the community center. And by stretching out the County’s financial commitment to the facility over ten years, only $5,000 will be drawn from the general fund annually.

For those who are interested in attending the County Supervisor’s meeting, it will be held at the Clarke County Courthouse on the Osceola Square, Monday, August 14th at 9:00 AM.

“I’d love to see everyone at Monday’s meeting to show support for the building,” said Kent. “Local schools, scouting groups, weddings, family reunions and more could be celebrating the joys of our East Lake Park as early as next Spring.”

If you have additional questions or would like to learn more about the community center, please reach out to Scott Kent, Director of Clarke County Conservation at 641-342-3960 or email: [email protected].

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