Governor Branstad dedicates Lake Belva Deer

Keokuk County Conservation Board presented this engraved rock at the dedication ceremony on Saturday

Keokuk Countyâ??s Lake Belva Deer County Park had its official dedication ceremony Saturday afternoon.

The project was 35 years in the making and was completed back in 2001.

And the event drew in some well-known faces. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad was there to deliver the dedication speech.

â??Well way back in 1989 Tom Monroe invited me to come down here to Sigourney. He had a vision of this Lake Belva Deer Project and I came and I was just so impressed. They had over 300 people and people were really excited about it and I was just proud to be able to support and recommend it,â?? said Gov. Branstad.

The Governor has been a strong supporter for the project since the beginning. Before he left office in 1999, he put aside $400,000 in infrastructure funds to be used on the Lake Belva Deer project over a span of two years.

Gov. Branstad has been adamant about Iowa becoming the healthiest state and said Lake Belva Deer Park is a great example of how communities are working towards that goal.

And there is plenty to do at the park.

â??Well the lake is 260 acres and since the lake has been built we have a 6.3 mile walking trail around the lakes. We have 8 miles of horse trails, we have 56 modern electric campsites, we have five modern rental cabins, 10 shelter houses, a swim beach -- so thereâ??s plenty of outdoor activities for people,â?? said David Long, Executive Director of the Keokuk County Conservation Board.

Supporters said the $10 million project could not have been possible without the publicâ??s support and grant money.

â??Now the area is actually -- its income last year was over a quarter million dollars just for the county, yeah,â?? said Tom Monroe, Keokuk Conservation Foundation.