Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
FAIRFIELD – Fairfield residents who drive by Lamson Woods on the southeast corner of town will notice there is a new entrance to the park.
The new entrance bypasses the old wooden bridge to the parking lot by going across the property north of the park owned by Bill and Dianne Baumann. The Baumanns sold a portion of their property to the city so the city could build a gravel road leading to the parking lot. This new road, about 30 yards north of the old entrance, is named Dianne Baumann Lane.
Bill, a retired doctor, said this project was made possible by the persistent effort of his close friend Ron Blair. Blair was one of the pioneers of the Fairfield Loop Trail, and has been active in promoting the city’s trail and parks. Blair approached Dr. Baumann about the predicament the city was in with the deteriorating bridge at Lamson Woods and the high cost of replacing it.
Fairfield City Administrator Aaron Kooiker said the old wooden bridge was no longer safe for vehicular traffic because rain had washed away the dirt at the base of the bridge. Baumann said he was told it would cost $300,000 to replace the bridge. Kooiker said the city hoped to find a cheaper, alternative entrance to Lamson Woods.
Initially, Baumann was hesitant to have a road going through his front yard, but after talking it over with Blair and city staff, he decided that selling a small portion of his land was the best decision for the community. The city plans to install a white vinyl fence between the gravel road and the Baumanns’ property, and to plant two crab apple trees.
“They’re doing their part and I’m doing my part for the community,” Baumann said.
Baumann said his wife has terminal Alzheimer’s disease, so while she may not appreciate that her name is on the lane, her children and grandchildren do. For Thanksgiving, the Baumann grandchildren gathered for a photo at the street sign bearing the name of their grandmother.
The city has blocked the bridge entrance so motorists will know not to cross it. Lamson Woods is currently closed to the public because a contractor will be cutting down 102 trees in the park, as part of a harvest approved by the City of Fairfield’s Arbor Committee and its city council. The city hopes the harvest will promote the growth of oak and hickory trees, which can’t get enough sunlight to grow because the understory — the forest floor — is full of less desirable plants such as hackberries, elms and buckeyes.
Call Andy Hallman at 641-575-0135 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org