Friends of Lake Panorama Begins Fundraising for Playground, Sports Courts

Plans for two new recreational amenities were unveiled at a volunteer recognition dinner Oct. 15 at the LPN. To make the new projects possible, Friends of Lake Panorama is conducting a fundraising drive.

The Friends of Lake Panorama is a public charity organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes, and is completely separate from the Lake Panorama Association and Lake Panorama National. All contributions to the nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity are tax deductible.

One project will establish a new “destination” playground at Sunset Beach. The other will renovate the two tennis courts at Lake Panorama National, and add a basketball court.

To develop plans for the playground, the Friends board met with Sunset Beach neighbors in August to gather input on what recreational amenities might work best there. Following that meeting, desired playground components were listed and proposals requested from two companies.

After reviewing both proposals, the Friends board voted to work with Boland Recreation of Marshalltown and chose one of the three playground designs proposed. A second meeting was held with Sunset Beach neighbors to share the playground details, gather additional input and answer questions. Those attending the meeting expressed enthusiasm both for the chosen playground layout and Boland Recreation.

The playground is geared to ages 5 through 12, and has a play area capacity of 165. The area covered by play equipment will be 60 feet by 53 feet, with a larger protective surface area of 72 feet by 66 feet.

The main play structure includes multiple slides, bridges and climbing opportunities. Several smaller play structures surround the main area, including a modern twist on the old-fashioned merry-go-round and teeter-totter.

For the LPN sports court, the Friends board reviewed and priced options for either renovating or replacing the current tennis courts. After that review, the board voted to accept a proposal from Sport Construction Midwest to renovate the current tennis courts and add an adjacent basketball court.

The first step involves repairing cracks and leveling the overall surface of the existing courts. A crack repair product that has been proven 300 percent more successful than traditional methods will be used.

Next, a PowerGame two-tiered surface will be placed over the existing court, and marked for both tennis and pickle ball. The modular flooring features a locking system, so no glues or anchors are needed.

The five-eighths inch high, self-draining surface stays clean by allowing water, dirt and debris to drain through. The cushioned design also provides shock absorption to help reduce joint stress and fatigue. The product carries a 15-year warranty.

New concrete will be poured for the basketball court, which will be 50 feet wide by nearly 79 feet in length. There will be a basketball hoop system at each end of the court, and fencing will be added to at least two sides. The current proposal includes topping the basketball court with matching modular flooring used on the tennis courts.

Each of the two projects is estimated to cost between $100,000 and $120,000, so a goal of raising at least $200,000 has been set by the Friends board. Details of the two projects, plus information on how to donate, will be mailed to all LPA members this fall.

But fundraising already is underway, and donations to these two priority projects encouraged. Donations also can be made to six separate funds, in addition to the two special projects.

There is a general fund, plus funds for Boulder Beach, Shady Beach, Sunset Beach, Panorama West, and Lake Panorama National. Money donated to any of these funds will be used at the discretion of the Friends board, or for smaller, targeted projects approved by the Friends board.

To donate, make checks payable to Friends of Lake Panorama, and include details on how the money is to be used. Donations can be designated to more than one project or fund. Mail to Friends of Lake Panorama, PO Box 488, Panora, IA 50216.

Donations also can be accepted electronically on the Friends of Lake Panorama website at The website includes drawings and details about the two current projects, plus other information about the charity.

A brokerage account is being established so donations of stock can be accepted. Donating stock that has appreciated in value can provide tax advantages in two ways — full deduction of a charitable contribution and no requirement to pay capital gains tax on the appreciated value.

Long term, it is hoped those who have a love for Lake Panorama will consider Friends of Lake Panorama during estate planning.

Major donors will be recognized on the Friends website, plus ads in the Lake Panorama Times, an annual printed report and community-wide publicity. Where significant projects warrant, such as the Sunset Beach playground and the LPN sports courts, a sign recognizing key donors will be erected near the completed project.

Kent Stephenson is the president of the Friends board. Tricia Steffen is vice president, and Jim Spradling is secretary-treasurer. Other board members are Kirk Fischer, Bob McCleeary, Jan Reinicke and Jodi Sutton. Susan Thompson is assisting the group.

Anyone with questions or suggestions regarding the Friends of Lake Panorama can contact Susan Thompson at 641-755-4382 or