Within three months of organizing, Manning’s newest 501c3 (non-profit) has donated $1,900 to local projects. Chicks with Checks held its organizational meeting in December. Shelli Lorenzen, who spearheads the group, heard of the Chicks with Checks through Main Street Manning. The women organized for the sole purpose of giving to projects in Manning without fundraising.
“I loved the idea of the simplicity of the group – no bake sales, no working a booth, no selling – just pay your money and help decide where to spend that money. Simple,” said Lorenzen.
Members come to quarterly meetings with $100 in hand. They also bring suggestions as to where they might donate the funds. The group votes on the projects, and the money from the meeting is given to a community project.
Currently, 28 people have expressed interest in the group which allows people to share a membership if they can’t afford $100 a quarter. The next quarterly meeting is May 2 at 6:00 pm in the back room of BrickHaus Brews.
Funds from the March meeting will benefit two projects. Six Kindle Fire tablets with cases will be purchased with a $600 donation to the Manning Child Care Center. The Manning Rec Center was given $1300 for new starting blocks for the swim team.
“In Manning there are no bad projects, so we will always have some place to donate our money,” said Lorenzen.
Where do you get 10 foot letters? In Manning, you construct them. Manning's city crew members back away from few things. When something is needed, they find a way to do it. During winter 2016, forms for the IOWA sculpture were constructed in the city maintenance building and concrete was poured.
City Administrator Dawn Meyer said, “The design point behind the sculpture, which was recommended by the Iowa State design students, was that not many visitors would take a photo in front a Manning sign, unless specifically tied to Manning; however, Iowa would relate to people from Iowa and especially out of state, creating another tourist attraction.”
The majority of the park elements will be located on the former Ag Center property which was gifted to the city by West Central Iowa Cooperative. Meyer said, “We’re trying to be very careful not to encroach on the railroad’s property. The historic trestle is intended to be more of a backdrop, not in the park."
The Trestle Park currently connects to the city trail system and a depot-style shelter house has been under construction this winter. The city crew was able to get the building enclosed before snow flew and is now working inside. (seen in photo below)
A committee is working to develop an outdoor learning environment which has a broad meaning, including everything; plants, insects, fishery, erosion, a pollinator garden, a water table where kids can play with the water. Other ideas call for a prairie area, bat houses, bluebird houses, observatory area and blinds, signage to identify trees and birds. It may include river access to get kayaks into the river and kids down to the river for education purposes.