Danish Villages Great Place

Summary Vision Statement

The Danish Villages of Elk Horn and Kimballton will become known as a model green community, based on the practices currently working in Denmark. The Danish Villages, like Denmark, are committed to using renewable energy and other clean technologies to advance our economies and strengthen our education for generations to come. We are working closely with our schools, residents and businesses to build our rural community into a flourishing model for others to follow. We are building our "bridge" from the past - showcasing our Danish Windmill, Museum of Danish America, The Little Mermaid and other attractions - to the future with new technologies, including solar power, green roofs, storm water management and more! We are building a model green community to showcase what we learn as we move into the future.

Danish Villages Conference Center & Fire Station

Plans for a Conference Center & Fire Station have changed. Land has been acquired next to the current Fire Station (where the old Foodtown building once stood) and a new station has been built adjacent to the current station. This will put City buildings in close proximity- such as Library and City Clerk's office, and Fire Station. The Danish Great Places Committee is going back to the "drawing board" for plans to build a Community/Conference Center without the Fire Department as part of it. The committee is currently in a fundraising stage. They would appreciate any input that community members have on the building and welcome any and all donations.

Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park

The Jens Jensen Park will celebrate the Danish immigrant who designed elements of the Chicago Park system, as well as hundreds of landscapes for wealthy industrialists, schools and universities. This new outdoor venue, designed and planted with his philosophies in mind, will provide picturesque landscaping, a pergola covered picnic area, walkways, sculptures, a pond and an amphitheater.

Business Plan:
The addition of the Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park will give the museum opportunities to increase its visibility to a variety of new audiences, which in turn will increase revenues. A fee will be in place for people who wish to use the area as an outdoor classroom, to host family gatherings, outdoor theater performances, community/museum festivals and events. We anticipate hiring at least one person to manage the park, supplemented with a core of trained volunteers.

Green Principals:
Following the planting and conservation philosophies of Jensen, the native plantings in the Prairie Landscape Park will have many green benefits including soil rehabilitation, water retention, wildlife habitat improvement, i.e. birds, insects and even microorganisms in the soil, and capturing and storing carbon. Native vegetation is being strongly considered as the next bio-fuel source for producing electricity and ethanol. Because of the diverse amount of plantings, it will be strong and self-sustaining. Native plantings and restorations actually give back much of what has been taken by us. The diverse plant community, which is created by plants native to the area, helps increase the diversity of other native species. The science of ecology tells us that highly diverse systems are stronger, more self-sustaining and require less outside inputs than systems that are not diverse (i.e. turf grass). Restorations even have the capacity to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere deeply within the soil. This can offset a portion of the carbon dioxide that we produce in our day-to-day activities. Using native landscapes in critical areas can also reduce erosion and capture nutrients that would otherwise end up reducing the water quality of our lakes and streams.

The Little Mermaid Trail

The trail will begin at the bronze sculpture of the Little Mermaid in Kimballton and end at the Iowa Welcome Center on the Danish Windmill grounds in Elk Horn, with stops at The Danish Immigrant Museum, new Conference Center, city parks and ballparks. The trail will showcase the Hans Christian Andersen Sculpture Park, with 13 sculptures and a life-sized sculpture of Hans Christian Andersen and young children. The project will include improvements to the public park playground equipment, fitness stations and a disc golf course.

Business Plan:
A recent community survey indicated a strong need for more fitness and recreational opportunities. This project will incorporate these needs into our green vision by giving individuals a safe route to walk or cycle between main points in the Danish Villages. We will utilize solar powered lighting throughout the path, design and build a disc golf course and incorporate bronze sculptures along the path. This will be a phased project maintained by local city and county governments. Our request for funding is to support the arts elements, as well as the Kimballton Ballpark entryway, the playground equipment in the Kimballton City Park and the fitness stations. In conjunction with an art consultant recommended by the Iowa Arts Council, local artists will develop unique design elements for the Hans Christian Andersen Sculpture Park and Ballpark entrance.

Green Principals:
Walking and cycling will reduce car rides between and around the Villages and bicycles will be available for rent at multiple stops. The Danish Villages will sponsor events promoting activities, such as "Bike to School Day", fitness station challenges, disc golf tournaments and geo-caching. This project will also make use of solar lighting and 75-100% recycled steal for both bike racks and trash receptacles.

Contribution Categories

Naming Rights: $500,000 and up 
Founder: $250,000 - $499,999 
Patron: $100,000 - $249,999 
Benefactor: $50,000 - $99,999 
Builder: $25,000 - $49,999 
Investor: $10,000 - $24,999 
Associate: $5,000 - $9,999 
Partner: $1,000 - $4,999 
Friends: $500 - $999 
Fans of Danish Villages: $5 - $499 
(For Conference Center & Little Mermaid Trail)


For more information, please contact:
Janell Hansen: 712-764-6161 or janell@metc.net 
Bob Mortenson: 712-764-3263 or mortrobt@metc.net


Donations can be mailed to "Danish Villages Great Place", a 501c3 organization, in care of Roger Parker, Treasurer, Shelby County State Bank, PO Box 60, Elk Horn, IA 51531.