Although many people believe it is one of Sioux City 's hidden gems, Latham Park is in danger of being lost to the community. After many years, rising costs and dwindling trust assets have put the future of the park in jeopardy. It will require approximately $750,000 to build an endowment that returns $20,000 for ongoing maintenance and restoration needs. Without the needed annual funding, Latham Park and the its prairie style farmhouse are in danger of being sold to developers. Community members have been extremely generous in donating materials and labor, but significant work is needed on the house and some of the park's structural elements to prevent irreparable deterioration. The goal is to raise enough funds annually to meet current operating expenses and increase the endowment by at least $10,000.
In 2003, a group of concerned and dedicated citizens formed the Friends of Latham Park Association that is working diligently with the Clara Latham Charitable Trust Fund to help support the park. The Association's membership is diverse, and each member brings a special passion to the preservation efforts: currently, the group includes historians, gardeners, community activists, artists, neighbors and people with all kinds of special connections to the park. The Sioux City Preservation Commission also is helping on this important project.
To date, the Friends of Latham Park Association has raised approximately $45,000, which has gone towards
annual operating expenses and immediate repairs and/or restoration needs. One of its goals has been to raise
awareness of the park's plight in the community. Its strategic objectives and activities are to:
Promote tax-deductible donation status to potential donors
Involve donor estate planning and bequests
Organize annual fundraiser gala and other events
Create and prioritize house and grounds projects
Expand fundraising through grants and networking with other organizations
Educate the public on horticulture & historic preservation
Involve youth groups in clean-up and planting
Offer on-site educational events
Seek grant funding and/or matching gift opportunities
Analyze the fee schedule for park usage to ensure that fees reflect related expenses
Solicit donations of cash, materials, services, or event sponsorship
Adopt a "pet" improvement project from the Park's wish list including naming opportunities
As more and more community members become aware of the threat, we repeatedly hear "I thought it would just always be there." Latham Park is dangerously close to the end of its resources, and its supporters continually seek tangible support to keep the park alive. This little treasure is rich in wonderful memories-both old and new; however, the Associations must hear from those who care before all that's left of Latham Park is a memory.