Shade Revitalizes West End Park

May 19, 2022, Department, by Josh Gaunt

june 2022 operations shade revitalizes west end park 410

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In 2018, an EF-3 tornado touched down on Marshalltown, Iowa, hitting downtown and West End Park, devastating the area. An old shelter was destroyed at the park during the event along with the majority of trees that were there.

Two large cottonwood trees remained, but the loss of the 20 other older trees created a huge need for a shade structure. Although many trees have been replanted in the ensuing years, there still isn’t a lot of shade in the park.

13th Street District, a local nonprofit organization located in Marshalltown, had started to develop different community events around the time of the tornado. They were working with the city of Marshalltown on replacing the old shelter before the tornado hit.

“In the development plans for the renovation of West End Park, we discussed with the 13th Street District how the park could be better utilized for daily use, as well as larger special events,” says City of Marshalltown Parks and Recreation Director Geoff Hubbard. “That’s when 13th Street District reached out to Romtec to design for us a shelter that could serve both purposes.”

13th Street District purchased the design and supply of the new custom shelter for City of Marshalltown. The custom pavilion is 25 by 30 feet, featuring a single-slope roof and steel columns.

It works as a shade shelter daily, but also it is used as an amphitheater for larger events. Close to the shelter is a natural play area, board walk and sidewalks for accessibility.

“The shade structure allows patrons playing in the futsal court or in the park to get out of the sun,” says Neil Dalal, 13th Street District board member. “The structure being much larger than the previous shelter, an entire band can be under the shade during the hot afternoon sun. We also felt it would be a great spot to start, end or take a break when using the Iowa River’s Edge Trail.”

This is a new trail that is .0.8 of a mile away from West End Park and will stretch 34 miles long.

“We have the Marshalltown Municipal Band perform there weekly in the summertime, it was basecamp for a futsal soccer camp last summer, home for Yoga in the Park, and has held several other musical events,” Hubbard says. “It has become the centerpiece of the park and gets used on a daily basis. The Romtec pavilion provides that shade element that is currently missing in most of the park.”

A single-slope shelter like this is a great option for parks seeking a low-cost amphitheater design that also provides shade and cover.

“We were looking for a shelter [that] looked modern, yet simple, enhanced the park and was cost effective,” Dalal says. “We had a set max budget, which was using local grant dollars and Romtec was able to provide a shelter [that] fit our criteria and budget.”

Future plans at the park call for a concession building that includes restrooms and serves as a tornado shelter.

The goal of building the pavilion was to bring people together in the community as an amphitheater for events while also providing shelter for those enjoying the outdoor park, trails and futsal facilities.

Josh Gaunt is a Content Writer at Romtec, Inc.