Construction is progressing on year-round bathrooms at the Sportsman Lodge, a welcome new amenity at Sportsman Park, the Dallas County Conservation Board’s oldest county park.
The board hired MA Architecture in March 2020 to design the addition, and they unanimously approved a construction bid of $98,500 from Modlin Construction of Perry at a special meeting in May 2021.
The 18 x 23 foot addition will include a kitchen area with refrigerator, sink and storage area, a family toilet and men’s and women’s toilets. The addition will make the 30 x 60 foot Sportsman Lodge, built in 2012, more attractive to wintertime users. The lodge accommodates groups as large as 120 people.
Sportsman Park became the Dallas County Conservation Board’s first park in January 1965, two years after conservation board was established. The 40-acre park was purchased for $6,000 from the Perry Sportsman’s Club.
Located at 13821 130th St. in rural Dawson, Sportsman Park is covered by oak and hickory timber and lies adjacent to the North Raccoon River. Camping, picnicking and hiking on the nature trails are available, with easy access to the nearby Raccoon River Valley Trail and Dawson boat ramp.
The 1965 purchase price included a custodian’s lodge, three shelter houses, tool shed, clubhouse, rifle range, trap shooting range and equipment, horseshoe courts, firepits and picnic tables.
Under county ownership, the caretaker’s lodge was rebuilt after a fire but finally closed in 2015. The trapshooting and rifle range were closed, and one shelter house was lost to a ground slump.
Additions to the county facility have included the Sportsman Lodge, a shelter house, shower house, two camping cabins, handicap-accessible playground and an updated campground.