By AMANDA GRAY
THE GOSHEN NEWS
DUNLAP — One third of the way down, about $120,000 to go.
As of Sunday, a little more than $62,000 has been raised to rebuild the Ox Bow County Park Tower, according to Ronda DeCaire, Elkhart County Parks Department superintendent of operations. That’s about one-third of the cost to rebuild the tower, which burned down in July 2010.
Crowds gathered Sunday to partake in the Third Annual Tower Run, a one-mile race and 5k race with funds going toward the tower rebuild.
“The run has helped contribute over $12,000 to the tower,” DeCaire said. “I hope the passion these folks have shown with the run will inspire other community leaders ... We really need community leaders to step forward. We’re at a point where we’re seeking gifts from community leaders and grants.”
Katrina Godzisz, president of Two Rivers Running Club and chief organizer of the Tower Run, said the club members wanted to help in some way when the tower was destroyed.
“This is the only thing we know how to do — run,” Godzisz said. “We wanted to do something, and holding a race is the biggest way to get the community involved.”
Godzisz said she expected a total of around 150 participants Sunday, which is down from previous years but still a good showing, considering the cold temperatures and heavy wind.
She said they expect to raise between $2,500 and $3,000 from the event for the fund.
“People are coming out because of the tower,” she said.
It wasn’t just the runners and the club donating to the fund — Marvin Boht with First Place Trophy donated all of the winner’s hardware to the event in hopes to attract runners to the event.
Many people stopped Boht and said they hadn’t seen such big and detailed trophies and awards before, even at bigger races.
“I told Katrina that I was going to blow the roof off of this place,” he said with a chuckle.
Boht said he came out to the race to make sure all of the trophies made it out and to see the crowd.
“I didn’t (donate the trophies) for name recognition,” Boht said. “I did it because I want the tower to be rebuilt, and it’s things like this that attract runners to races.”
DeCaire said the Elkhart County Parks Department has done other things to raise funds for the tower, such as accept donations and sell T-shirts. They have also applied to four grants for the project, but none have been accepted.