Corteva employees, Lions clean up Reinbeck City Park

Install library’s new “story walk” feature

PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER – Tezlyn Trunck looks at a page from “My Voice is a Trumpet” by Jimmie Allen, which will be the first book on display at the Reinbeck City Park’s new “story walk” feature provided by the Reinbeck Public Library with funding help from the Reinbeck Park Board and Reinbeck Lions Club.

REINBECK – A large group of helpers descended on Reinbeck City Park last Thursday to help get the park ready for the upcoming season and add something new for community park-goers.

Employees from Corteva Agriscience in Reinbeck teamed up with members of the Reinbeck Public Library, Reinbeck Park Board and Reinbeck Lions Club to help beautify the space and install a new “story walk” feature at the park.

Corteva employees have been helping out at the park in recent years as part of a quarterly community service project in the company’s business plan, Janell Boldt said.

“This year I sent out a survey to employees looking for new ideas,” Boldt said, “but the park cleanup came back as the number one thing. It may not be a new idea, but they really enjoy doing it.”

Dan Johnson with the Park Board expressed gratitude for Corteva’s help with various clean-up projects around the park, which over the years have included weeding the T-ball field, tidying up sticks from nearby Strohbehn Park, mulching, tennis court sweeping, and countless other tasks.

PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER – Reinbeck Lions Club members, Corteva Agriscience employees, Reinbeck Public Library staff and Reinbeck Park Board members are among those pictured at a clean-up day at Reinbeck City Park last Thursday. In addition to beautification projects around the park to get it ready for park season, helpers also installed several “story walk” panels that will allow families to engage with children’s books while also getting out and about in the community.

“The Park Board really supports the community with different ideas and projects,” Boldt added. “And having Corteva here in town is a blessing, without Corteva in Reinbeck it’d be hard, because we do different projects in addition to having such a nice workforce.”

The contributions from the Lions Club have not gone unnoticed, too – Johnson considers the group, which boasts a headcount of nearly 40-members strong, a vital component in community betterment in Reinbeck.

“The Lions members are always looking for things they can be involved with,” Johnson said. “They come to us and say, ‘What can we do to help your organization?’, they’re trying to help beautify the whole city. And not that we’re competitive, but compared to some of the other communities around here I just feel like they’re doing way more.”

The story walk feature is the latest addition to the attractions provided by the City Park. With funding help from the Lions and the Park Board, 16 panels will be installed throughout the park. The panels were constructed by the G-R Industrial Tech class with materials donated by Holmes Welding and plastic sponsored by Adam and Nikki Bentley.

“That’s so cool that this is a community project encouraging kids before they become adults to have an impact that they’ll be able to look back on and say they were a part of that,” said Lenah Oltman, Reinbeck Library Director.

PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER – Clean-up crew helpers from Corteva Agriscience help beautify the edging around the shelter building at Reinbeck City Park.

Oltman expects to update the feature at least monthly with new books, starting with “My Voice is a Trumpet,” written by Jimmie Allen and illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson.

The book dovetails nicely with the “Find Your Voice” theme of this summer’s reading program at the library.

“Find your voice, through anything that makes you unique and special,” Oltman said. “Whether it’s standing up for what is right, using your musical talent, doing flips, whatever.”

Each page of the book will also have an activity attached to keep kids and families active and engaged with the book. For example, one page will ask the reader to loudly count out 10 “tall steps” and softly count out 10 “small steps”; the story walk will also encourage social media interaction to bring more families out to the park.

There will also be some holiday-themed events that will involve the story walk, like a Fourth of July feature planned that will display various Fourth of July back issues from the archives of the Sun Courier, curated by local author and historian Ray Rannfeldt.

There is also hope of expanding the feature to include more boards as most children’s books often land in the 18-25 page range, Oltman said. Future books in the story walk series will also be at a variety of reading levels that will encourage young ones to learn to read aloud to family members.

“We want to show that the library is not just a building, but a community thing that goes beyond the walls,” Oltman added. “Although they’re really cool, 105-year-old walls – it goes far out there.”