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New sledding hill closer to reality in Mason City

by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – The “One Man Think Tank” is at it again.

Fresh of his last volunteer effort, building a replica of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Park Inn Hotel in the middle of Southbridge Mall to collect food for the Hawkeye Food Bank, Ozzie Ohl’s latest quest is to get a new sledding hill built in Mason City.

He has found his location at Georgia Hanford Park on the city’s southeast side.

(PHOTO: Ozzie Ohl of Mason City points to the proposed location for a sledding hill, located in Georgia Hanford Park prairie area.)

It was a delicate issue, and Ohl proceeded with due diligence through the Mason City Parks Board and then received the blessing of the Gerk family of Mason City who have been supporters of trees and prairie areas in the park.

Ohl found out that utilities can be run to the area, possibly for lights or other needs.  “I toured the area with Steve Harrington from Alliant,” he said. “They can run electrical to the area.”

Ohl is looking to raise thousands of dollars to get the project completed by this winter… provided there is snow, that is.

“Need to raise $20,000 to take care of excavating, running electricity, installing lighting and putting in permanent concrete benches,” Ohl said.  “I will be relying on the generosity of the people of Mason City to get this done,” he said.

One of the ways interested persons can contribute to the project is by sponsoring a concrete bench.  For $500, the benches can be personalized.  “The are very durable,” Ohl said.  “Names of loved ones or your own name can be placed on the bench permanently.”

(PHOTO: Ozzie Ohl talks about benches needed at the proposed sledding hill location.)

Ohl said the hill will be at least “twice as long” as the East Park Sledding hill.  “Sledding is one of the cheapest forms of recreation,” Ohl said.  “It fits in well with the Blue Zones concept.  Hopefully everything can fall into place so the kids and their parents can enjoy the new sledding hill this winter.”

Ohl has an account set up at City Hall, the “Georgia Hanford Sledding Hill Project” where anyone can donate to the project.

Click graphic for larger view of sledding hill layout

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