Camp Courageous installs new pedestrian tunnel

Work on the new Penaluna Pedestrian Tunnel at Camp Courageous began early last week on June 20. The tunnel stretches under 190th Street from the Durgin Pavilion to the newly acquired property (former Pictured Rocks Camp). (Photos courtesy of Camp Courageous)

Contractors construct a new driveway across from the Durgin Pavilion. The goal with the tunnel project was to establish a safe way for campers, staff, and visitors to get across the roadway year round.

Camp Courageous’ pedestrian tunnel measures 12 feet wide and 9 feet high. It was transported in 20 pieces, each section 6 feet long.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     While Camp Courageous has been closed throughout the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that hasn’t stop Camp from pushing forward on future projects.

     Right now, 190th Street looks a little different as contractors work to install a 12-foot wide by 9-foot high pedestrian tunnel underneath the roadway. Just as it says, this structure will allow people to get across the street by avoiding the weather elements, year-round.

     Efforts for this project began earlier this year when County Engineer Derek Snead informed the Jones County Supervisors of Camp’s intent.

     “This has been in the works a while,” said Camp Courageous CEO Charlie Becker.

     The original idea was to construct the tunnel in the spring of 2020 when little to no traffic was headed to Pictured Rocks Park.

     As you read this article, the Penaluna Pedestrian Tunnel is no doubt well on its way to completion. The project physically began early Monday morning, July 20. Becker said the goal was to wrap up the installation late last week. The roadway will remain gravel until it was paved over.

     With several Camp, public, and private events held at the Durgin Pavilion, Becker said there is several occasions were parking in front of the Pavilion is not enough.

     “This project opens up the field across the road,” Becker explained. People can safely cross 190th from one side to the other without issues with on-coming traffic or inclement weather.

     The pedestrian tunnel takes people to the newly acquired (former Pictured Rocks Camp) property.

     The Penaluna name associated with the tunnel project is the same family who contributed funds for Lake Todd. The lake is named after Todd Penaluna, a long-time camper at Camp Courageous who has since passed away.

     “This tunnel is a new link from camp to Lake Todd,” Becker said. “The Penaluna family wanted to contribute toward a big project out here, and this just connects everything together.”

     In order to place the culvert underneath the roadway, 6,000 cubic yards of dirt had to be moved.

     The tunnel itself was transported in 20 pieces, each 6 feet in length.

     “It’s a substantial culvert,” detailed Becker.

     There will also be LED lighting inside the pedestrian tunnel, for use at all times of the day and night.

     As for the location of the installation, Becker said the elevation was right for a project such as this.

     “One Camp neighbor remarked, ‘This tunnel will save a lot of lives,’” shared Becker.

     The area contractors who assisted in the project were Dave Schmitt, general contractor, of Cedar Rapids; and B&M Trucking out of Cascade.

     “Both have been long-time friends of Camp,” noted Becker.

     Schmitt was also part of the Lake Todd project.

     While 190th Street never closed during this project, people accessing the Maquoketa River and Pictured Rocks Park were rerouted through the former Pictured Rocks Camp and down the road toward the park.

     “It’s a small detour,” Becker said. “Everyone has been very supportive.”

     As for when Becker anticipates Camp Courageous re-opening, he indicated they’d likely be closed through the remainder of 2020. However, 90 percent of the staff was expected to return to work by Aug. 3.

     Since Camp purchased a new ADA-accessible passenger bus, Becker they are looking into the possibility of day trips and various local activities they can offer.


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