This article was printed in the the September 2020 issue of The Iowa Lawyer. The original article can be found here: Jennifer And Jessica Zupp And The Denison Mini Golf Rehab Project.
It was a visit from grandma, and a bit of nostalgia, that sparked a year-long community project for Denison attorneys Jennifer and Jessica Zupp. The Denison Mini Golf Course Rehab Project began as an idea when the Zupps’ mom and dad wanted to take their grand-kids to Denison’s mini-golf course.
“Our mom had a mini golf course behind her home growing up, so she wanted to enjoy some nostalgia with the kids,” Jennifer explained. “When we picked up my son, Jack, later that day, she commented about the state of disrepair of the course. I had never really noticed, because sometimes we get apathetic with busy lives, but when I stopped to think about it, I agreed with her. I figured that if we got a lot of people together and some donations, we could probably get it cleaned up at least, and made-over at best.”
Were it not for the willing and generous spirit of many people and businesses in the community, the project simply would not have happened. We are very proud to be a part of it.
Jennifer got to work, first making sure her husband, who owns a concrete company and whose services she would need to enlist, and her law partner, Jessica, were on board. They contacted the Denison Parks and Rec Director to ask if they could start fundraising immediately.From there, Jennifer said she treated it like any case she was handling: “You do whatever it takes. We started by forming a small working committee including me, Jessica, the Parks and Rec director, a city council person and a Parks and Rec board member. The committee met at our office and decided to seek hole sponsors for $1,000 each. We were able to obtain sponsorships for all 18 holes, plus an additional $4,000+ in cash donations from individuals, groups and businesses.”
That group, led by the Zupps, set their sights on a total rehab: new concrete, new picnic tables, new turf, new course obstacles, new balls, clubs and improved landscaping, including repair of some of the old features. They kept project costs low by organizing volunteers on Facebook to provide most of the labor. The first “work night” was held Aug. 26, 2019, and from there the group averaged two to three evenings per week where they met and worked on site. After winter, they picked up again in mid-March with thousands of free labor hours volunteered from members of the community.
“We have splurged on a couple of items, like good-quality blue turf for the course holes and two heavy-duty cantilever umbrellas to provide a place for families to have a birthday party for a little one, or just catch some shade for a while,” Jessica said.The completely revamped mini golf course had its grand opening on Aug. 7, with the mayor of Denison joining to officially cut the ribbon. The city is charging the same admission price as before to pay for the ongoing maintenance, $2 per round, and the course is available for private event rental. It’s a new attraction for Denison – spearheaded by two local attorneys who just wanted to do something nice for their community.
“Ultimately, we all want it to be a place where kids can go, make memories, have fun and be safe,” Jennifer said. “Were it not for the willing and generous spirit of many people and businesses in the community, the project simply would not have happened. We are very proud to be a part of it.”