DUNLAP — With less than $5,700 to reach its project goal of $130,500, the Elkhart County Parks staff is hoping the fundraising for a new Ox Bow Park Tower will be complete this spring To help raise the remaining funds the community is invited to collect pledges and take part in a March for the Tower March 23 at 2 p.m. at Ox Bow County Park.
The original 1972 redwood observation tower at Ox Bow County Park was destroyed by fire through an act of arson in 2010. The tower was not covered by Elkhart County’s insurance since it was considered a non-essential item.
Ancon Construction and RW Armstrong stepped forward to donate in-kind services to design and engineer the new tower with a steel base structure and required ADA accessible first level. The efforts to “Rebuild the Ox Bow Park Tower” campaign have raised more than $82,800 in grants and donations and the Elkhart County Park Board has committed $42,000 of project funds to help build the tower and amenities that will allow the first level to be ADA.
The largest donor to the project has been the Elkhart County Community Foundation, which designated a $32,000 matching grant last summer. Funds raised in the March for the Tower will help match the money of that grant.
Major donors who have already helped match the Community Foundation grant include the Welter Foundation, Irions Family Foundation, Corson Family Foundation, Bill Deputy Foundation, Monogram Loves Kids Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Nappanee, Commercial Structures Corp. and Friends of the Elkhart County Parks. Several individuals have also given gifts of $1,000 or more, and hundreds of community members have given donations of all sizes.
Members of the Two Rivers Running Club and the children and staff of Concord Ox Bow Elementary School have been the most active groups in trying to gain support and raise funds for the tower. Together they have raised over $13,000 of the funds and both groups continue to help toward the final phase.