Gowrie celebrates community progress

GOWRIE – The successful efforts to keep the community’s golf course and improve its swimming pool were celebrated during a gathering Friday evening in Gowrie.

The 49 people who attended the event called A Taste of Gowrie also learned about a fundraising campaign to help pay for replacing the city’s 41-year-old fire station.

During the dinner, Gowrie Mayor David Stokesbary summed up what he considers the essential character of the city.

”It’s nice,” he said. ”It’s small.”

Vance Bauer, the president of Gowrie Golf LLC, said the city is the only one in the area that has a swimming pool, golf course and roller rink.

”We think Gowrie has a lot to offer,” he said.

The organization Bauer leads was created in February to buy the golf course on the south side of town when the previous owner put it up for sale. He said 49 investors joined forces to create the organization. He added that POET LLC, which owns a nearby ethanol plant, donated money to help with the course purchase.

”The community stepped up and bought it,” Bauer said.

The course will be leased to the city government, which will operate it. Bauer said the limited liability corporation will not profit from the lease.

A new eatery, Rooster’s Restaurant and Lounge, will be located in the golf course clubhouse. Jordon Adams, the daughter of restaurant owner Kim Pritchard, told the gathering Friday that it will open in the next two weeks.

Adams said the restaurant won’t be just for golfers.

”It’s a place for everyone to go to,” she said.

The city’s pool and its bathhouses will have a new look when the swimming season begins this summer.

”We are in the process of redoing the Gowrie pool,” said Mindy Swieter, who is the president of both the Gowrie Development Commission and the city’s Pool Board. ”It will be ready to go this summer.”

The pool will have the same shape, but the shallow end will be sloped to meet the surrounding deck. That style, called zero depth entry, will enable people to walk into the water rather than jump into it.

Floating toys and a bucket that will pour water on swimmers will be among the new features. The interior of the bathhouses will be remodeled.

The roughly $1.1 million project is being paid for with a $650,000 city bond issue and donations. Swieter said $192,163.88 has been received from donors. She added that 79 people have donated $1,000 or more.

As the Pool Board makes progress on its fundraising campaign, the Gowrie Fire Department is starting to solicit donations to help pay for replacing the fire station on Main Street that was built in 1972. Fire Chief Greg Benson said the building is too small to properly house today’s fire trucks.

Benson said a site on Main Street, east of the Southwest Webster Emergency Medical Service building, has been selected. He added that it’s possible that the emergency medical service and the fire department could eventually share the building.

Construction may take three years to complete.

The event on Friday in the Community Center on Market Street was the annual dinner of the Gowrie Development Commission. All the food came from local businesses, and the desserts were prepared by culinary arts students at Prairie Valley Senior High School. Four of those students helped to serve the dinner.