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FishingMobile, with Two Minute Tackle

Grand opening promotes fishing, hiking at Quarry Springs Park

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COLFAX — Many families battled the heat Saturday spending the morning at one of Jasper County’s newest attractions, Quarry Springs Park in Colfax, for its grand opening that included several activities that showcase what the park has to offer.

The main event was a kids fishing derby, which kicked off the day at 9 a.m. and had nearly 70 kids casting their lines into Quarry Springs’ lake competing to reel in the largest catch.

The competition had families staking out their fishing spots for two hours around the park’s west lake. Some of the reported fish caught Saturday were several bluegills, a 16.5-inch catfish and a 20-inch garfish.

Following the two-hour long derby, children then cleaned up and made their way to the prize giveaway ceremony where winners chose one of many prizes available including brand new fishing poles, tackle boxes, camping gear and coupons for local stores around Colfax. Every kid in each age group walked away with a prize.

A freewill lunch featured hamburgers, chips and beverages for guests. According to Doug Garrett, who is the Colfax Park and Recreation Auxiliary Board President, donations for the day totaled $324 and another $294 was raised from the selling of Quarry Springs Park apparel items. The money will be used in the progression of the new park as the board continues transforming the former gravel quarry into an outdoor recreational complex.

The 480-acre land was formerly known as Martin Marietta Materials Inc. until Colfax obtained ownership of it in April of 2015. A master plan for the park was released one year later.

The auxiliary board, a 501(c)3 nonprofit in charge of park operations, opened the property to the public on May 1 offering fishing, hiking and camping, but volunteers wanted to work out the kinks before a grand opening.

Garrett shared the land’s history of the past two years during a ceremony Saturday afternoon. He then gave a special appreciation to Neal Grant, former Martin Marietta Material Inc. district land manager, for working with the auxiliary board in making the transfer of ownership happen. 

Grant thanked Colfax in his response and said Martin Marietta Materials Inc. was happy to make this project happen as a way to give back to the community.

“I’m very excited to watch this property develop into something very special the next few years,” he said.

Garrett introduced many other guest speakers Saturday including U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack.

Loebsack, who visited the park last summer, said he can see the land becoming a destination and will try to help it progress any way he can.

“What I can promise you is that I’ll continue to do what I can to work going forward to see if there is any kind of funding available for this wonderful project,” Loebsack said. “I came out here in August of last year, and it was clear to me the kind of potential that exists out here.

Other guest speakers included Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Diversity Technician Pat Schlarbaum, a member from the Van Dusseldorp family — past operators of the land — and Colfax Mayor David Mast. 

Mast officially opened the park with the ribbon cutting to end the ceremony.

For more information about Quarry Springs Park visit www.quarryspringspark.com or its Facebook page.

Contact Alex Olp at aolp@newtondailynews.com

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