Darla Ubben Memorial Garden in the works

A rendering of the proposed Darla Ubben Memorial Garden near the intersection of Center and Main Street in Conrad. Project leader Angie Martin has set a fundraising goal of $25,000. (Photo courtesy of Angie Martin) 

The metaphysical presence of an individual who did so much for her community during such a short time—the way late Conrad Chamber/Main Street Director Darla Ubben did—never really disappears. Now, a group of her family members, friends and admirers are leading the push to dedicate a new garden that will serve as a tangible reminder of Ubben’s profound impact on her adopted hometown.


Angie Martin, a current deputy Grundy County auditor, wife of Conrad Mayor Jeff Martin and former Black Dirt Days organizer, created a Facebook page for the project and already has over 350 followers. She is looking to raise $25,000 in all to cover a 150-gallon stone fountain reservoir, a monument with laser engraved stone, pavers, colorful plants, four cube stones for seasonal planters, electrical upgrades for the area at the intersection of Center Street and Main in front of the mural, and two benches.


According to Martin, she has been approached with several ideas about how to properly honor Ubben—who passed away last month at 46 from complications related to colon cancer—but some, like renaming Main Street “Darla Ubben Drive,” simply weren’t feasible. She teamed up with Ladehoff Landscaping Owner Brian Ladehoff, and the plans for the garden are moving along briskly.


“People were already thinking about what we could do for her and the family, and with some of the experience I have planning things and fundraising, I thought I would be the right person and love to help,” she said. “It’s truly going to be a memorial park.” 


To donate to the project, visit https://www.gofundme.com/darla-ubben-memorial-garden or stop in at MidwestOne Bank in Conrad. 


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