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Visitor Center Remodel in Progress

Remodel began during July 2017

[Oct 31, 2017] Starting in July this year, construction began (and continues) on remodeling and improving access to the Heineman Visitor Center.

First, we replaced the 25-year-old siding with new siding that is touted as the latest technology and proposed to last 70 years. But what we found when the old siding was taken off was a rotted wall beneath the upper porch and zero insulation on the building. Thankfully, that has all been fixed. The result: the building is not only architecturally pleasing but it will be much more energy efficient. Along with a new steal-shingled roof that was put on a few years back, the building should be in great shape for the foreseeable future.

[Photo credit: Telegraph-Herald.]

We held a Thank You Donor Reception and Ribbon Cutting in early October for many of our main supporters and, even though the building was not yet complete, it was impressive how adding a few extra features — while mainly keeping the same footprint — has completely renewed the building visually.

Major funders for the project

We had three major funders for this project:

  • The Woodward Foundation was our first funder for the project and gave a two-year pledge to re-side the building. With this funding, we decided to leverage this generous gift and create a bigger project.
  • The Dubuque Racing Association awarded us a grant to go towards increased energy efficiency and provide better access to the building with a wider entrance and handicapped accessible doors that open automatically.
  • The Catherine Hoffman Estate was the gift that really made this bigger vision of the project possible. Our Finance Committee went over the numbers and was deciding whether we were going to start a capital campaign or go with a more modest plan. The day before our next meeting, we received a call that we were to receive a check that needed to be signed the next week. It was EXACTLY what was needed to put a green light on the project! A major part of our sustainability and growth is due to community members who include the Arboretum in their estate plan.

A major part of our sustainability and growth is due to community members who include the Arboretum in their estate plan.


We wish to thank many in-kind donors, including:

  • Rob Trilk. A custom weathervane (at right).
  • All-Seasons Heating & Cooling. A new furnace and air conditioner.
  • Dubuque Overhead Door Co. A  new garage door.

We also wish to thank our Construction Committee:

  • Steve Ulstad (architect),
  • Dan Pfeiffer (general contractor),
  • Wylie Bledsoe,
  • Jack Frick and
  • Sandi Helgerson.

Come see our progress soon!

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