Projects

Adding to and Enhancing the CR Parks System

The CR Parks system is extensive but tax dollars cannot sustain and support growth to the Parks and local recreational opportunities. Everyone benefits from the Cedar Rapids Park Foundation’s work to add to and enhance our local park system.

Old MacDonald’s Farm

This is a picture of the old entrance to Old MacDonald's Farm. There is a brown wooden bridge that leads to the barn and there are two stalks of corn on either side of the bridge entrance. There are bales of hay next to the bridge and below the bridge as well.

The Bever Park Zoo and Old MacDonald’s Farm holds an iconic place in Cedar Rapids history. Generations of Cedar Rapidians remember waking to the roar of the lions and bear at the old Zoo, and the chattering of the chimpanzee building. But the age of exotic animals in Bever Park passed; and the Zoo had lost its place in the community. In 2003, Bever Zoo formally became Old MacDonald’s Farm with young farm animals rather than exotics. Modernizing and re-purposing the Zoo into an urban farm gave this historical space a new purpose in the community.

Old MacDonald’s Farm is special. It is the only facility of its kind in the Midwest. It is publicly owned by the Cedar Rapids Park system and admission is always free to all visitors. During the 2022 season over 34,000 people visited Old MacDonald’s Farm.

This is a picture of two children petting a rooster at Old MacDonald Farm.

Phases

This is a picture of the 2022 Beers in the Barnyard event. The Old McDonald Farm is in the background along with an Iowa Brewing Co. Tent. In the foreground is a table adorned with a Cedar Rapids Parks Foundation tablecloth. There are lights on the fencing, and people are scattered around the event.

5th Annual Beers in the Barnyard

Beautiful vegetable gardens, including raised beds that are all ADA accessible, allowing for programming in partnership with Linn County Master Gardeners.

 

  • Established a Pollinator Garden in the Old Bear Cage area.
  • Mural surrounding the Pollinator Garden.
  • Planted new native plants to enhance OMF entrance.
  • Replaced spring loaded playground toys.

 

Rebuild and maintain OMF retaining wall and farm fences. CRPF donated funds in support of this project to help support the cost of reconstruction and updated animal pen fences.

 

  • Spring 2024
  • Silo projects: CRPF has allocated a significant gift to this project to improve the educational value of OMF
  • Silo 1: Farm to Table interactive exhibit—funding complete.
  • Silo 2: Birds of Prey interactive exhibit.
  • This project was a collaboration with the Confluence, Kirkwood Community College Advanced Welding Technologies and Construction Management Programs.
  • Future construction of a new duck house for winter care of OMF duck flock. In 2023, CRPF donated $8k in support of the construction of the new duck house.

Beers in the Barnyard (BITB) is the major annual fundraising event of the Cedar Rapids Parks Foundation. The event was held the evening of October 6, 2022 at Old MacDonald’s Farm located in Bever Park.

 

Food and beverage were included with a ticket purchase:

    • Picnic meal provided by Winifred’s Catering
    • Domestic and local craft beer from:
      • Iowa Brewing Company
      • Clock House Brewing
      • Lion Bridge Brewing Company
    • Wine tastings from Vineria Wine Shop
    • Soft drinks
    • Live music by The Blake Shaw Quartet
    • Silent auction with a creative array of silent items and experiences

 

In 2022, the annual fundraiser event netted over $25,000 and attracted over 200 supporters. The philanthropic support for this event is growing and this year the net proceeds will be aimed in support of ReLeaf for Parks, an intentional, long-term plan to replant and care for over 8000 trees in our Cedar Rapids Parks system.

Sustainability Projects

Shade Shelter

CRPF is focused on assuring our parks are sustained properly and are usable and accessible by all community members. In that light, we are working to support more shade structures in high need parks. The first two shade shelters coming in 2024 will be at Delaney and Jones Parks. It’s our hope that these shelters will offer a place to gather and create happy memories for friends and families.

Bench/Picnic Table Honorariums and Memoriams

Contact CRPF at crparksfoundation@gmail.com if you are interested in donating a picnic table or park bench in honor or memory of a group or loved one. A donation of $2500  to CRPF covers the cost of the bench or picnic table and a plaque acknowledging the individual or group you would like to honor or memorialize. Donors will be offered options for bench colors and approved locations where they can be placed. Picnic tables are a standard design and color. Picnic tables location options will be shared with the donor upon purchase. CR Parks Staff installs the picnic tables and benches in the months of  June and July.

Community Gardens in Parks

Supporting the ongoing Community Gardens in Parks initiative lead by CR Community Development and CR Parks & Recreation is of high importance for CRPF. In 2024, we will fund garden sheds, garden support items and raised beds to help support this effort!

ReLeaf for Parks

The August 2020 derecho had a devastating and lasting impact on our entire community. Daniels Park is no exception as shown in these before and after photos.

ReLeaf for Parks is a concerted effort to not only replant but maintain 8,175 trees in 38 Cedar Rapids parks. It’s easy to overlook costly watering requirements for a tree to establish itself during the critical years after replanting so the reforest project has our full support.