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Vinton Celebration Park Project Holds Special Meaning for Community

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VINTON, Iowa - Celebration Park is under construction along the Cedar River.

Flooding pushed back the completion date. They had hoped to open this summer, but now the grand opening won't happen until next year. They're still, however, plugging away. Drivers can see the progress as they cross the bridge going south into Vinton on Highway 150.

Sounds of construction fill the air in Downtown. Dorrin Graves has a front row seat to the progress at her home across the street.

"Every day we just watch a little bit more happen," Graves said.

The land was once scarred with flood-damaged properties in 2008.

"Being able to just see something change and see it grow and it'll be good for the community," Graves said.

Right now only pieces of Celebration Park are finished. Mark Mossman, who lives and works in Vinton, said this is just the beginning.

"An open air pavilion with restroom facilities ... trails, fire pits, the river wall," Mossman said.

The gazebo is a big part of the project. I'll be a place for people to have a lot of special occasions. But for The Mossman family, once the construction is done, it'll be special for a different reason.

"The Burns Mossman Gazebo," Mossman said.

The name honors Mark's son, Burns. The City's Parks and Recreation Department wanted a lasting way to honor him.

"Burns was probably the happiest person I've ever met in my entire life," Mossman said.

Four years ago, the 25-year-old died in a motorcycle accident on Highway 150, not far from where the gazebo sits.

"He loved the river and really loved everything about Vinton, so it'll be a place that we can celebrate his life as well," Mossman said.

It's a park that remembers Burns, marks the recovery since the '08 flood, and brings people together along the river.

"Really just to celebrate being alive," Mossman said.

The committee raised about $300,000 in just a matter of months to make the project happen. Organizers expect to finish by the end of the year and officially open the park next year.

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