Friends of Parks & Recreation

Friends of Ely Parks & Recreation Friends of Ely Parks and Recreation

What we Do

501(c)(3) Organization Created: March 2022

Friends of Ely Parks and Recreation is made up of community members who support the development and enhancement of public parks, open spaces, recreational programs and facilities to benefit the citizens of Ely. We plan to host several new socially oriented events throughout the year for both adults and families. This newly established group welcomes anyone in the community to join and participate in whatever way you can! 

Our board actively fundraises to support our non-profit's mission. In our first year as an organization, we've raised over $10,000 from hosting various events; most notably the wildly popular Ely Open. This event was the catalyst to creation of our organization. We are proud to say 2023 was our third annual Ely Open - selling out 144 slots in less than 12 hours, since it's inception.

Our current fundraising efforts will help support:

  • Renovations to Vavra Park: Installation of a pickball court
  • Development of a Pocket Park on the Bike Trail: water bottle fountain, bike repair station, bike racks and other amenities

Board Composition

  • President - Mike Houlihan
  • Vice President - Kelsey Ressler
  • Secretary - Madi Carolan
  • Treasurer - Stephanie Mai
  • City Representative - Callie Stulz-O'Brien

Our Annual Events

  • Trivia Nights
  • Human Foosball Tournaments
  • Ely Open (city-wide backyard golf outing)
  • Pie Eating Contest at Fall Fest
  • Community Bike Rides

Want to get involved?

If you have ideas for projects and events, are interested in volunteering, or would like to serve on the board, please contact us at You may also reach out to the City of Ely Parks and Recreation Department at 319-848-4103 for more information.


Contributions made to the organization are tax deductible.

Photos from Previous Events

Barbie Golf Group Human Foosball Golf Participants at Ely Open Residents at Trivia Night Winning Team Theme at Ely Open Kids Participating in Pie Eating Contest