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Monday, December 28, 2009

Budget bind means parts of state parks to be shut

From 12/28/09 Des Moines Register

The state is moving to close selected trails, parks and beaches and might close entire parks if budget cuts grow, the Department of Natural Resources' director said.

The department has lost 25 percent of its general-fund cash in the past year because of weak state revenues, Richard Leopold said. Last summer, federally paid help bolstered his crews, but that money is gone, too.

Next summer, some areas that don't generate cash will be roped off, Leopold said. Campgrounds and other spots that do bring in cash should be open, though maintenance may suffer a bit.

As it stands today, all parks will be open next summer, with selected parts of them closed.

"We're not closing anything yet," Leopold said. "We will offer fewer services everywhere. If we get further cuts, we'll probably close whole parks."

Any closures would most likely affect lesser-used parks, he said.

"It's kind of ironic because we are at record attendance but at historic lows with staffing," Leopold said.

Iowa's 85 state parks draw a combined 14 million visits a year. The DNR usually has 300 summer workers on board to help with the vacation season.

"Now, we have 40 budgeted for next summer, and we'll be lucky to hold on to those," Leopold said.

That means some beaches, playgrounds and picnic areas will simply be off-limits because the state won't be able to maintain them. The one wild card: volunteers. If a park's "friends group" can pick up the slack, its areas might stay open.

Department spokesman Kevin Baskins said several initiatives might ease the pain. The DNR has asked for $40 million in stimulus money for parks projects but has not received word on the application. That money would pay for constructing beach buildings, playgrounds and cabins, for example. There is also talk of coming up with money for volunteer coordinators at the DNR.

In the long term, there may be more cash. A private foundation is looking to raise cash for parks. Also, voters will decide in November whether to back a constitutional amendment that would clear the way for devoting $150 million a year to natural resources if lawmakers approve a sales tax increase.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

IPF Request for Proposal - Research & Fundraising

The Iowa Parks Foundation issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) and a Request for Qualifications for two important projects . I both cases, IPF hosted pre-application meetings to describe the projects and answer questions from prospective vendors.

The first meeting presented the RFP for:

  • Marketing Research Services

  • Public Opinion & Research Services

  • Audience Research, Development and Associated Services

The Board's intention is to select a consultant with experience and ability to provide the IPF with research and community engagement services that will refine and inform the foundation’s long range strategic planning efforts. The consultant will assist the foundation to acquire information from targeted groups and individuals as part of a key strategic goal to create an operationally sustainable organization and to advance the foundation’s mission.

You'll find the pre-application meeting files at these hotlinks:
Audio/Media Files:
Revised Schedule:
Revised RFQ:

These files will be available for download thru December 24, 2009.

The second meeting described the RFQ for a Fundraising Consultant.

The principle function of the fundraising counsel will be to:

  • Coach and assist the IPF to design and conduct an investment campaign intended to raise $150MM for a capital investment and IPF operations for the benefit of Iowa's parks before the state park system's centennial in 2020.

You'll find the pre-application meeting files for the fundraising project at:

Audio/Media Files:
Revised Schedule:

Revised RFQ for Fundraising:

These files will also be available for download thru December 24, 2009.


Contact Kent at or call at 515-255-0776 if you have questions.

Have a Joyous Holiday Season!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Iowa Parks Foundation - Pre-Application Meetings rescheduled

Due to the developing weather situation and winter storm, we are moving the vendor pre-application meetings scheduled for this week to next week. (Watch… now the storm will miss us).

The meetings will be at RDG Planning and Design at 301 Grand Avenue in Des Moines if you can make it in person.

Here is the remote access information that will be used for the pre-application meetings on Wednesday and on Thursday of next week.

Join us via your computer if you are interested.

The Wednesday meeting will be held at 2:30 PM (CST) and is for those firms interested in the research, public opinion and associated services (agenda attached).

The Thursday meeting will be held at 3:30 PM CST and is for those firms interested in the fundraising consultant and associated services (agenda attached).

If you are unable to attend the Wednesday December 16th IPF Pre-Application Meeting at 2:30 PM in person, you may follow the following instructions for remote access.
1. Please join IPF Pre-Application Meeting for
a. Marketing Research Services
b. Public Opinion & Research Services
c. Audience Research, Development and Associated Services

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.
Dial 312-878-0206
Access Code: 791-695-088
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID: 791-695-088

1. If you cannot attend the fundraising consultant services meeting in person, you may join our pre-application meeting on Thursday, December 17 at 3:30 PM Central Standard Time.

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.
Dial 712-338-7131
Access Code: 426-485-992
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID: 426-485-992