Upgrade 2020

Upgrade 2020 Campaign

Central Gardens of North Iowa Launches Capital Campaign

Central Gardens unveiled a capital campaign at its Summer Garden Party on Sunday, June 30 that will raise $220,000 in anticipation of the celebration of the Gardens’ 20th anniversary in 2020.  Half of the donated funds will be used for twelve major improvement projects to the grounds.  The other half will be directed to the permanent endowment, ensuring that Central Gardens will exist in perpetuity.

Projects in the Upgrade 2020 effort include improving the drainage and turf on the ceremonial lawn, enhancing the water features and south entrance, creating a landscape buffer on the property that borders 8th Street, adding trees, shrubs, signage, and lighting, and developing a cellular phone plant identification app to  enhance the visitor experience.  Plans were developed pro bono for the Gardens by Rennebohm & Associates, LLC, Landscape Architects  of Des Moines, IA.

You can see the entire project in the Upgrade 2020 brochure by clicking here.


Honorary chairpersons of the campaign are native Clear Laker, Corine Hadley, businesspersons Gary and Diane Laabs, and Clear Lake summer residents Dr. Shawn Sabin and Paul Barnds.  The campaign will be completed no later than October 31 of this year.  A gala celebration is planned for September of 2020.


Nearly twenty years ago a group of visionary north Iowans dedicated the site of the old Central School grounds to be developed as the only free public garden space in a 90-mile radius of Clear Lake, IA.  Situated on 2.75 acres, this ground is now home to twenty-two specialty gardens, three structures, several sculptures, and most dramatically, a Moon Gate arch that frames the Ceremonial Lawn.

The popularity of the Gardens as a public gathering spot has increased over the years, and now welcomes over 15,500 visitors annually through its gates. Last year guests from 41 states and 7 countries signed the visitor log.

The improvements in the Upgrade 2020 project will continue Central Gardens’ reputation as a premier public garden destination.

KIMT Story About the Upgrade 2020 Campaign

Upgrade 2020 Campaign Three month update

Central Gardens’ Capitol Campaign On The Road To Success

Central Gardens is at the 3-month mark of a capital campaign its board of directors announced in June to raise $220,000 in anticipation of the Gardens’ 20th anniversary in 2020. The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that good progress has been made to that goal, and that they are optimistic that a positive announcement can be made in June of 2020 that the campaign was a success.

“Upgrade 2020” as the campaign has been dubbed, consists of twelve very specific projects to improve or repair the grounds. One of those projects, the Eighth Street Barrier, has already begun with the planting of a truckload of trees and shrubs on the western boundary that will eventually provide a sound barrier to protect street traffic noise from drifting into the Gardens. Another major project that will begin in the next few weeks is the installation of new drainage and irrigation systems in the large Ceremonial Lawn.

“We are grateful to our early donors for their generosity so we can begin the work that is necessary to keep the Gardens a beautiful destination for all of North Iowa and beyond,” said Bob Rennebohm, chair of the board of directors’ design committee and a licensed landscape architect. “Unique to this capital campaign is that one-half of all dollars raised goes to the permanent endowment, thus ensuring Central Gardens’ existence in perpetuity”.

Also slated for completion this fall are improvements to the large fountain at the south gate and the addition of an arch and finials to the two columns at the main entrance. The complete list of projects can be found on Central Gardens website, centralgardensnorthiowa.com. Donations can be sent to Box 735, Clear Lake, IA 50428.