Site located on Chet Krause Drive
By Holly Neumann
The Iola Village Board gave Jerry Kopecky permission to move forward with a park to be located on Chet Krause Drive.
The park will be dedicated in memory of Chet Krause, who died on June 25, 2016.
Kopecky, along with Mark Sether, approached the village board with the idea.
“I bought the property in 2013,” said Kopecky. “I had always thought about putting a park there while Chet was still alive, but life got in the way and it got put on the back burner. Now seems like the right time to do it.”
The property includes JR’s Sport Shop, Shivers and everything located behind it.
“Shivers and the JR’s will stay,” said Kopecky. “The house and trees behind it will all be torn down.”
Mark Sether, who was representing the Krause Foundation, believes this is an opportunity to clean up that part of the village.
“This location just makes sense,” he said.
The park will feature a stage, small pavilion and a bronze statue of Krause.
“We will spade in some new trees, and I would also like to see some beautiful murals, painted possibly by students, on the back to the building,” Kopecky said. “It will be a great place for people in the community to congregate.”
Kopecky believes Krause would be flattered by this.
“Chet by no means ever wanted any attention, but he would certainly be impressed by this,” he said. “We all know what Chet has done for this community. A generation from now it may all be forgotten. This is a great way honor him, to keep his memory alive.”
Kopecky himself has committed to 10 years of maintenance for the park.
The property will eventually be donated to the village of Iola.
The Krause Foundation’s initial financial investment will be to Kopecky for consideration of ultimately deeding the home to the village, demolition of the home and tree removal.
The Iola Village Board voted to support the efforts for the park.
“We are with you,” said Joel Edler, village board president. “And thanks for the work you have done thus far.”
Conversations will need to take place with the village attorney before they may move forward.
Kopecky hopes to get started as soon as possible on the project.