PHOTO: Joe Yedlik, Nick Hein and John Harms helped to kick off the grand opening of the Citizens State Bank Youth Development Center on Friday, April 12. The official opening was attended by more than 200 people. See more event photos on page A-15 inside this week’s Express. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
PHOTO: Lead donors on the Youth Development Center project took part in a ribbon cutting. Those present were representatives from Cargill, Alliance Pipeline, Citizens State Bank, Jones County Extension Council, Vision Iowa grant and 4-H youth and leaders.
By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
About 200 people were present Friday night, April 12, for the official grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Citizens State Bank Youth Development Center.
Four years and one week to the day, the first meeting of the Capital Campaign Committee was held to get the ball rolling on the new Youth Development Center.
“And here you are tonight at the dedication,” said Joe Yedlik, Jones County Extension and Outreach director.
Great Jones County Fair Manager John Harms said this project would not have been possible without community support, as well as the support of so many people and companies.
“It was a real pleasure to work on this project and get it accomplished,” said Harms. “It’s great to show off hard work of a lot of people and a lot of contributors in our capital campaign.”
For 19 years, both Harms and Yedlik have been involved with the Jones County Fair and ISU Extension and Outreach.
“It’s been a great experience and wonderful ride. I’ve worked with so many good people who work really hard in this fair business,” offered Harms.
“I wouldn’t have gone into the Extension business if it weren’t for Jones County and the GJCF. It’s been a fantastic opportunity and non-stop ever since,” praised Yedlik.
With both the Extension service and fair running out of room and needed to expand their services to the county and communities, this project was inevitable.
“This building was a natural idea,” Yedlik said.
In finding the right person to put together an idea, Harms said they looked through a list of past 4-H members in Jones County, and, as luck would have, came across a licensed architect, Katie Harms. (She is also the daughter of the GJCF director.) She is an architect with OPN Architects in Cedar Rapids.
Katie said she used two main objectives when designing plans: keep agricultural roots in tact in the building design and make the building fit into its surroundings. She scoured the county, looking at the country landscapes, the shapes of barns, animal housing, grain bins and the use of materials you find on each of these structures.
“I responded to the Iowa vernacular with a modern twist,” she said of the final plans. “The design was also influenced by the tenants that occupy this building, the fair and Extension. Both are deeply rooted in ag programs and education. The design and layout of their offices allow for adequate space and fulfill their needs.
“This project was also near and dear to my heart for a couple of reasons,” added Katie. “Being a past 4-H’er and involved with the fair, I know the importance of the of the 4-H and Extension office and programs they provide for our youth. And what their office does all year round to put on, what I think, is the best county fair in Iowa.”
Nick Hein, Capital Campaign Committee chair and past 4-H member, told the crowd that this project would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the entire committee he was a part of.
“With them, none of us would be here today,” Hein said. “This building wouldn’t be here. There was a tremendous amount of dedication and work by an extraordinary group. They helped to put together a building we were all proud of and excited to promote.”
Hein acknowledged five main contributors and financial supporters of the Youth Development Center: the Jones County Extension Council, Alliance Pipeline (who contributed $100,000), Kevin Gasman with Cargill (who contributed $100,000), Audrey Savage and Citizens State Bank and the Vision Iowa Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grant.
“Thank you to these five organizations for making this dream a reality,” remarked Hein. “I believe the Jones County community will enjoy this building for a long time.”
Others who were recognized for their hard work and dedication and support throughout the project were: Cammie Greif, the Iowa State Fair Board, Iowa Department of Ag (represented by Jay Johnson, deputy secretary of Ag), ISU Extension and Outreach (represented by Sherry Glenn, assistant vice president for Extension and Outreach), as well as the Jones County Board of Supervisors, the Monticello City Council, the Iowa legislature and countless 4-H families.
Yedlik said to date, there have been over 230 contributors of the Youth Development Center.
When it was finally time for the ribbon-cutting portion of the evening, three different groups were represented, all having a future with the new facility: the Capital Campaign Committee, the five lead donors and the governing board of the Great Jones County Fair.
Audrey Savage with Citizens State Bank, the namesake of the building and lead donor of the project, was given the esteemed honor of christening the building. After rigging a champagne bottle to the garage door inside the expo hall proved unsuccessful, Savage smashed the bottle against a cement wall outside the door.
With the 161st Great Jones County Fair just a few months away, the new Youth Development Center will be enjoyed by all!
PHOTO: The governing Board of the Great Jones County Fair participates in a ribbon cutting during the grand opening on April 12. (Photos by Kim Brooks)
PHOTO: The Capital Campaign Committee for the Youth Development Center cuts the ribbon during the April 12 grand opening.