People who camp regularly at Hickory Grove campground, southwest of Colo, are excited for the completion of the shower building/storm shelter in the middle of the campground area. Conservation officials say they hope to see the project completed by mid-May.


Demolition of the old shower house started in January. That shower house was built in 1968, and was the original building that existed when the campground opened. According to Ryan Wiemold, parks superintendent for Story County Conservation, the old structure was in need of major renovation.


“Also, Hickory Grove was without a sufficient storm shelter in the case of bad weather. When we moved forward with this project, we decided to put these two elements together,” Wiemold said, noting that Story Conservation strives to provide its users with a pleasant and safe experience when visiting the county’s parks.


According to the Iowa Lakes Valuation Project, through the Iowa DNR, Hickory Grove is Story County Conservation’s largest park, seeing 71,123 annual visitors and having an annual economic impact of $6.46 million. The $822,000 shower building/storm shelter, according to Story Conservation officials, will help show Story Conservation’s commitment to recognizing the park and users’ needs.


“We are committed to bringing new and exciting projects to our county conservation properties and to provide excellent multi-use facilities for our users,” Wiemold said.


The new shower house and storm shelter building will provide men’s and women’s restrooms, three unisex showers with changing rooms and two handicap/family bathrooms with showers in them as well. The building, which will also include a mechanical chase room for easy access to plumbing supply lines and a storage room for restroom and cleaning supplies, will be built to double as a storm safety shelter.


An open area of the building, Wiemold adds, can also be used for vending and will have kiosks posting events and safety contact phone numbers.


Until the new building is completed, a reduced camping charge of $12 a night is in place for campers. That will remain until the new shower house opens.


“There are a few sites without electricity, due to the power being supplied by the same transformer for the shower house, which is off during construction,” he said. The water is, however, turned on and the dump station is also open; and there are ADA and regular portable toilets at the campground entrance.


The full list of projects happening at Hickory Grove Park


n Hickory Grove Park Shower House/Storm Shelter Project - ongoing


n Hickory Grove Watershed Project


-Phase 1 –Rock silt dike/check dam construction, shoreline armoring - ongoing


-Phase 2 – Lake Dewatering- planned fall of 2017


-Phase 3 – Shoreline armoring and sediment removal - planned


-Cattle exclusion from creek - completed


-Upgrade private septic systems in watershed - ongoing


-Beach water monitoring program - ongoing


-Goose control - ongoing


-Native vegetation restoration/invasive species removal - ongoing


n Sewer system replacement to allow for new buildings and capacities- planned


n Dock repair and replacement - ongoing


n Road and boat ramp repairs/overlay - planned


n Trail expansion - ongoing


n Entrance signs, informational pull off area and kiosks - planned


n Ash tree replacement plan in campground/wood carvings - ongoing


n Park building repairs and step replacement - ongoing