In 1997, the Ahrens Park Foundation was established as a private operating foundation, which owns and operates Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park. The Ahrens Park Foundation is dedicated to providing first class recreational and athletic facilities while collaborating with wellness, educational and recreational programs and organizations for the greater good of the community of Grinnell. Its partners include the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation, Grinnell Community Early Learning Center, City of Grinnell’s Parks & Recreation, Grinnell Youth Baseball/Softball Association, Grinnell-Newburg Schools, Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, LINK, and Mid-Iowa Futbol Club.
Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park
Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park is named after Claude and Dolly’s son, the late Paul W. Ahrens, who passed away in 1989 at the age of fifty, and a friend of Paul’s, Jim Paschall, who also passed away at a fairly young age. Building a recreational park had always been a life long dream for both Claude and his son, Paul.
The Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park, opened in 1994, is home to eight youth softball and baseball fields, outdoor basketball courts, a tennis court, four pickleball courts, a sand volleyball court, three youth soccer fields, a golf driving range, several playground areas, three shelter houses, a sledding hill, community gardens, green spaces, and a one and a half mile outdoor walking path. An outdoor ice skating rink is open during the cold winter months.
The playground areas feature play structures from Miracle Recreation Equipment, the company founded by the late Claude W. Ahrens in Grinnell. Installed in 2018, the new playgrounds – one for 3-5 year-olds and one for 5-12 year-olds, feature a wide range of play structures and sensory play panels throughout. The younger playground offers handicap accessible features to offer inclusive play for all children. The accessibility features of this playground include ramped units and transfer points for wheelchair bound children, as well as sensory play panels for kids of all abilities. The transfer points allow kids to use their upper bodies to crawl through play areas. The swing set in the younger children’s unit has an “inclusive seat,” a chair with a high back and shoulder harness. Surfacing for all of the areas includes rubber poured in place and rubber mulch, considered the #1 safest play surface for playgrounds. The older age appropriate playground area features Miracle’s “biggest and best” Mega Tower with six different slides.
Also located at the park is the Ahrens Family Center, the Grinnell Athletic and Recreation Center, and the offices for the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Ahrens Park Foundation, Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation, and LINK.
To reserve one of our three park shelter houses, please contact the Ahrens Park Foundation offices at (641)236-5518. Please view our calendar section to see current availability of our park shelters and other park events.
President – Jon Pettlon
Vice-President – Steve Sieck
Treasurer/Secretary – Shannon Fitzgerald
Assistant Treasurer – Julie Gosselink
President & CEO
Chad is the President and CEO of the Ahrens Park Foundation. Chad Nath previously served as LINK Grinnell’s Executive Director for two years. Prior to his role with LINK, Chad spent sixteen years with UnityPoint Health – GRMC; seven as Director of Wellness, Fitness, and Integrated Health, nine as Director of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness and all 16 as Director of the Summer Day Camp. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Ahrens Park Foundation, Imagine Grinnell, Kids Against Hunger, and the UnityPoint Health – GRMC Foundation. Chad has over twenty-five years of experience in child education and development, and community health and wellness.
As president & CEO, Chad will be responsible for managing, leading, and promoting the Ahrens Park Foundation (APF) and the Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park complex. He will work with the APF Board of Directors to develop strategies focused on carrying out the APF’s mission and vision as well as provide fiscal oversight and oversee community, partner and user relationships. Chad will also partner with the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation (CDAF) to help promote CDAF’s vision and strategies.
The Grinnell Athletic & Recreation Center (GARC) was built in 1998 and includes a multi-purpose gymnasium, locker rooms, two offices, and an open lobby. The city of Grinnell’s Parks & Recreation leases the GARC facility year round for its offices and various indoor programs and activities.
For more information regarding the City of Grinnell’s Parks & Recreation department, GARC Open Gym Hours, programs, memberships, guidelines and rental information, please visit the Grinnell Park’s & Recreation website at www.grinnelliowa.gov/159/Parks-Recreation
Ahrens Family Center
The Ahrens Family Center was built in 1994 which houses classrooms and play areas for the Grinnell Community Early Learning Center. With a recent addition, the Ahrens Family Center now has twelve learning classrooms, a gymnasium, a 20 by 35 foot swimming pool where small children are taught to swim, offices and a large kitchen facility. Outside, there are two fenced-in play areas with playground equipment and safe tile surfacing for children who attend the center to play.
For rentals of the Ahrens Family Center or Grinnell Athletic and Recreation Center, please contact the city of Grinnell/Recreation department at (641)236-2620.
The 6,310 square foot administrative foundation offices for the Ahrens Park Foundation and Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation is comprised of a welcoming lobby, reception desk, thirteen individual office rooms, three large conference rooms, two smaller meeting spaces, two kitchens and several restrooms. The foundation offices facility was originally built in 2006 with the completion of a large building expansion in 2011 and a second addition in 2022. Offices for the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation and LINK are also housed here along with Americorps members, VISTA members, and Grinnell College work study students.
All administrative and grantmaking functions occur at the foundation offices. Various charitable programs run by the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation include the Community Support Services, Dolly Ahrens Scholarship Award, Leave It Better Than You Found It, and Lend A Hand.
The Ahrens administrative facility is available by reservation for individuals and/or groups associated with local nonprofit organizations who have an established relationship with either the Ahrens Park Foundation or the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation for the use of meeting and/or reception space. Use is not permitted for private parties, or other social, non-community oriented gatherings unless approved by office staff of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation.