A stone building in the middle of Hydro-Electric Park has been the scene of picnics and family gatherings since the Great Depression.
Not much about the structure changed since it was built in the Fort Dodge park during 1939.
”Everything was pretty much original,” said Kevin Lunn, the city’s parks and forestry superintendent.
That’s changing now. A handful of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department employees is renovating the building and, with the help of a retired plumber, they’re also upgrading the nearby bathroom facility.
The project started in August. Lunn said Thursday that there’s about a month’s worth of work remaining.
Early in the effort, the city workers replaced the roofs on both buildings. The circular roof on the bathroom building posed a special challenge, according to Luun.
A concrete patio in front of the stone cabin was replaced.
The boards which covered the windows were taken down and new windows were installed.
Inside, a counter will be placed along one wall.
Lunn said the crews put new electrical wiring into the building to replace the 1939 vintage wires.
A new ceiling made of knotty pine wood is being installed. Fans will be mounted on the ceiling.
A similar ceiling is being placed in the bathrooms. New sinks and toilets will be installed.
Lunn said the city ”saves more than half the cost by doing it in-house.”
Since the employees are already on the payroll, the extra cost to the city is about $7,000 to $8,000 for building materials, he said. He estimated that hiring a contractor to do the work would cost $20,000 to $25,000.
The crew working on the project consists of Kim Leadly, James Ort, Rich Peterson, Aaron Steburg and Lunn.
”We’ve got some good guys, guys that are really talented,” Lunn said.
Bob Patterson, a retired plumber from Fort Dodge, volunteers his expertise to work on the bathrooms.
The structure at Hydro-Electric Park on First Street Northwest is the third park building to be renovated by the city workers. A cabin at Snell-Crawford Park on Williams Drive was completed last summer. A building in Oleson Park at the south end of 17th Street was remodeled in 2012.