Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

April 26, 2018 Conservation Board buys 132 acres of quality forest
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

The Johnson County Conservation Board recently entered into a contract to purchase land near Solon from local philanthropists Dick Schwab and Katherine Burford.

This is an amazing piece of property. Conservation experts from across the state rave about the area. It is 132 acres in all, including almost 100 acres of high quality forest, including the remnants of the original Big Grove. The forest is adjacent to land owned by the Bur Oak Land Trust and the Corps, creating valuable wildlife corridors.

There is some other cool stuff. It is home to an active CSA and comes set with deer fence, a packing shed, and coolers all in mint condition.

The property is home to four round barns, including the Celebration Barn. It is home to the largest mortar-less arch in North America.

There are antique tractors and cars, woodworking equipment, a house, and much more. The Conservation Board has a strategic plan with six separate goals. This purchase meets all six goals.

Here is the best part: Schwab and Burford just made the largest charitable gift in the history of the Johnson County Conservation Board – more than $1 million.

The finances break down like this: The property is appraised at $3.9 million. We will be purchasing it for $2.89 million. More than $1 million is their gift.

The transaction is not direct. The owners first sold the property to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, who then sold it to Johnson County. This is because the Heritage Foundation can move quickly, while local governments cannot. We will then purchase the property over two fiscal years.

I am sure you have heard people screaming about this purchase. I happen to believe the purchase is a good thing.

The Conservation Board and staff are people of great character. They have traditionally done great work, and they did great work here. I am very proud of them and proud of this purchase.

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