Friday, April 12, 2019
It took years of planning, collaboration, and even a piece of legislation for the Gypsum City Off-Highway Vehicle Park to become what it is today — which is the largest OHV park in the state of Iowa, according to Dennis Plautz, president of the Webster County Improvement Corp.
That was the message to participants in the Leadership Fort Dodge program Thursday afternoon during a presentation about the progress of the park, southeast of Fort Dodge.
The meeting was held at the maintenance shed on the property where the park is located.
The 650-acre OHV park is constructed on land acquired at no cost by the Webster County Improvement Corp. from USG, National Gypsum and Georgia Pacific.
Plautz said the idea for the park started with Larry Leiting, of Fort Dodge, in the late 1990s. Leiting was a member of Webster County Wheelers.
But because of a lack of funding sources and trouble acquiring land, the project stalled for a few years.
In 2004, much of the land was transferred to the Webster County Improvement Corp. — a five member board that owns and leases sections of the OHV Park land. The Improvement Corporation is separate from the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. Plautz is also the chief executive officer of the Growth Alliance.
Liability was another setback, Plautz said.
“It went on for years without any headway,” he said.
Former state Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge, wrote a liability law specific to the OHV Park.