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Beautification Project Planned Near Iowa Great Lakes

Tom Gustafson
Courtesy of Okoboji Tourism
The Arnolds Park Amusement Park area of the Iowa Great Lakes

A group of residents in northwest Iowa has plans to spruce up the area leading into the Iowa Great Lakes.
Members of Imagine Iowa Great Lakes, a group of donors in the region, are focused on improving the Highway-71 corridor from Milford to Spirit Lake.

They want to plant trees, install fencing and even place public art along the road “to enhance the character of the corridor and reinforce the identity of the destinations” according to the group’s Regional Beautification Initiative.

Jill Harms with Blink Marketing does public relations for the group. She says the group feels the concrete corridor does not represent what the blue glacial lakes are about.

“The idea is to bring all of that beauty that sits all around the lakes closer to the highway areas,” Harms said.

Harms said the blue water and trees surrounding the water are what make the Iowa Great Lakes unique.

Last week, Imagine Iowa Great Lakes won a $1.1 million bid on Okoboji Middle School in Arnolds Park.

Construction on a new middle school is expected to start in April 2019, according to June 2018 school board minutes. 

Okoboji Middle School sits at the corner of Broadway St. and Highway-71, "kind of a gateway entrance area, a very focal point in the Iowa Great Lakes," Harms said.

“So purchasing this property is just another way to be able to bring in more elements of the natural environment," she said.

Harms says development plans for the school are in the works and should be completed by the end of the year.


Katie Peikes is IPR's agriculture reporter