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Dan Pence, Jay Herman, Shawnell Blattler, Marvin Bergen and Marshall White pose near new park sign.

By Nancy Thorkildson

After a lot of planning and hard work, the new park in Shellsburg is now clearly identified as Shellsburg Memorial Park. The Shellsburg Area Community Group (SACG) organized two work days in the spring of 2011 where community volunteers cleaned up the area that we hoped would become a new city park. It was a lot of hard work, but thanks to the efforts of many, the area’s appearance was much improved. A SACG committee was established to plan further improvements to the area. In the fall of 2012 SACG obtained a grant from Trees Forever to plant twenty six new trees and these were later labeled because they are unique species that are not commonly found in Shellsburg. A sign designating the park as the Shellsburg Memorial Park was designed in 2012 however a grant to cover the cost was not approved and the project was set on the back burner.

Progress continued, however, and on June 3, 2013, the Shellsburg City Council passed a resolution officially establishing the Shellsburg Memorial Park and adopting guidelines for the type of memorial benches that could be placed in the park. Since that time, three memorial benches have been added. These honor the memory of Lyle and Lillian Caldwell, Eldon and Pearl Lear and Joyce Pence.

The newly designated Shellsburg Memorial Park gained a lot of attention during the long term planning program, Community Visioning, during 2013. Ideas were shared about possible future developments for the area. However, it was also clear that some people were not aware that this area immediately east of the new Canton Street Bridge was officially designated to be the Shellsburg Memorial Park. So in August 2013 community volunteer, Jay Herman, proposed that SACG funds be used to purchase a sign identifying the park. SACG member, Dan Pence, felt this would be an appropriate use for memorial funds set aside from his late wife, Joyce Pence.

Following the SACG vote, Jay arranged for the sign to be created by local business owner, Ed Callen. It was a nasty, cold day on December 18, 2013 when Jay Herman and Marshall White assisted Ed Callen in setting the posts for the sign. Plans to get the sign erected during the winter were thwarted by mother nature. But on March 18, 2014 community volunteers Marvin Bergen and Shawnell Blattler helped Ed install the sign. Ed was then able to finish off the posts so they are of the same style as the entrance signs to Shellsburg.

So due to the efforts of many people, we can now proudly display our new Shellsburg Memorial Park. But don’t think for one minute that this project is complete!! There are already discussions about a walking trail, more benches and other improvements that will make the park even more inviting……so stay tuned!

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