When John Ohde was honored in Des Moines March 27, his step-daughter, Sydney, and wife, Jackie were on hand.
As John Ohde, Manning’s Public Works Superintendent, inches toward retirement at the end of 2019, some of his many contributions to the community were recently recognized.
On March 27, Ohde was honored by the Iowa Park and Recreation Association at its spring conference for his contributions and commitment to municipal parks and recreation in Iowa and presented with the T. Ray Frame Parks Maintenance Award.
His nomination, submitted by Cory Arp, reflected on only a few of the many projects he has completed for the city during his 40 years. It stated, in part, “Under John’s strong and straight forward leadership of Public Works, many parks and rec projects dreamed of by community members were built and maintained by John and his department.”
Some of the projects he was instrumental in included: the old high school remodeling project with its gymnasium, indoor pool, hot tub, weight room renovation, and family changing room; construction of the Trestle Park shelter house and the concrete IOWA sculpture. The idea behind Manning’s current project, the zero entry outdoor pool with slides and splash pad, was completely initiated by Ohde.
“It’s impossible to guess how much the citizens of Manning have benefited from John Ohde and his ‘let’s get this done attitude.’ It is obvious how much love he has for his hometown.”
Cory Arp, Manning Parks and Rec Director
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.