Park Planning Projects

Gather Here Park System Master Plan

Iowa City Parks & Recreation needs your help envisioning the future of the Iowa City parks system through the “Gather Here” Parks planning initiative. This plan provides a study of the City’s current active park areas to evaluate accessibility, condition and lifespan of the facilities, as well as providing a visioning component to determine the park amenities and facilities desired by the community. The goal is to shape the park system and facilities in their role as gathering spaces for the Iowa City community.

This plan will focus on the department’s outdoor spaces, and not address the programs or services based inside the recreation centers or City Park Pool.

RDG Design of Des Moines was selected to lead this 9-month project. The outcome will be a prioritized plan to guide maintenance and plans for additions to park facilities.

The master plan process began at the end October with a series of community focus groups geared at soliciting feedback on current facilities to determine accessibility and maintenance concerns. A public input open house was held in conjunction with the Iowa City Holiday Market on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center.

Send us photos of park amenities on your wish list, or photos of your favorite parks in Iowa City. These along with your comments will help inform our park system-wide master plan process. Leave your feedback here: http://www.icparksmasterplan.com/

The master plan will be presented to the Parks Commission during the July 12 meeting at 5 p.m.


Natural Areas Master Plan

The goal of this planning process is to study and assess the functional, economic, recreational, and aesthetic value of the Iowa City Parks and Recreation system's natural areas. The final product will inform a 10-year management plan intended to protect the value of these sites.

Project milestones:

  • Project Initiation & internal kickoff meeting:  Oct. - Nov. 2016
  • Aerial Photography:  Nov. 10, 2016
  • Existing Data Compilation & Review:  Dec. 2016 - March 2017
  • Field Preparation:  Mar 2017 Field Inventory & Assessment:  April - July 2017
  • Prioritization of Maintenance & Staffing Recommendations: Aug. 31, 2017
  • City Policy & Ordinance Review & Recommendations:  Sept. 30, 2017
  • Draft Management Plan:  Oct. 15, 2017
  • Final Management Plan:  Dec. 31, 2017

Applied Ecological Services of Minnesota was selected to lead this 9-month project. Questions, contact Juli Seydell Johnson at 319-356-5100.


Cardigan Park

The City of Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department launched the Cardigan Park planning process in September 2016. A public input meeting was held on September 7, 2016.

View the park plan here.

View playground rendering here.

Current status: Design on this project is complete and a funding request has been made for FY 2018. The playground portion of the proposed construction is funded and will be installed late summer 2017.


City Park

Lower City Park

The Lower City Park master plan was completed in March, 2016. Public input meetings were held in Oct., 2015. The plan is proposed as a multi-phase construction project.

View the park plan here.

Current status: The master planning phase for this park is complete. The project has yet to receive funding for construction.

Upper City Park
REAP funded

Improvements are planned for Fall 2017 including a new playground, addition of a Gaga pit, and the beginning of restoration on the historic City Park cabins. The cabin project is supported by Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) funds administered by the Iowa Dept. of Cultural Affairs.


Creekside Park

Iowa City Parks and Recreation is working with Snyder and Associates to develop a master plan for Creekside Park and are looking for your feedback. A public input meeting was held  on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at the Creekside Park Shelter, 1858 7th Ave Ct. with a remote commenting period that ended April 28.

View the Park plan here.

Current status: The park plan is set for review by the Parks and Recreation Commission on July 12 at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center at 5 p.m. Construction on this project is planned for Summer 2018.


East Side Sport Complex

The East Side Sport Complex master plan was completed in May, 2016. Public input meetings were held in Dec., 2015. The plan is proposed as a multi-phase construction project.

View the sports complex plan here.

Current status: The master planning phase for this sports complex is complete. The project has yet to receive funding for construction.


Frauenholtz-Miller Park

The City of Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department launched the Frauenholtz-Miller planning process in September 2016. A public input meeting was held on September 15, 2016.

View the park plan here.

View the new playground here.

Current status: Construction work begins the week of April 17, 2017 and is expected to continue through the end of June, depending on weather. The 2017 site construction includes grading and utility work, concrete path installation and addition of a new playground, shelter and landscaping. A new park sign will be installed at a later date.


Happy Hollow Park

Planned improvements for summer/fall 2017 include the addition of a new shelter and bathroom.


Hickory Hill Park

The City of Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department, in coordination with Friends of Hickory Hill Park, completed a master plan for Hickory Hill Park in 2016. Public input meetings were held on March 13, 2016 and May 15, 2016.

View the park plan here.

Current status: The master planning phase of this project is complete. Design work will be completed during the winter of 2017. Upgrades to trails, bridges and signage are scheduled for spring 2018. 


Ned Ashton House
REAP funded

Planned improvements to the landscaping and outdoor areas are planned for summer-fall 2017. This project is supported by Project Green and Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) funds from the Iowa Dept. of Cultural Affairs.


Riverfront Crossings

The Riverfront Crossings Park master plan was completed in May, 2015. A public open house meeting discussing this first phase of the project was held Nov. 2, 2016. Phase 1 will focus on restoration of Ralston Creek, wetland creation, and providing trail connections to the surrounding neighborhoods.

The complete park master plan can be viewed here.

Phase one of the park plan can be viewed here.

Current status: The master planning phase of this project is complete. Phase 1 of the Riverfront Crossings Park project is slated for construction in late summer 2017. Additional areas of the park will be developed in the future as funding becomes available. 

Learn more about the greater Riverfront Crossings Development here.


Wetherby Park

Sport Court Project

The City of Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department launched the Wetherby Park sport court planning process in August 2016, which included a public input meeting held September 28, 2016. Public comments, including those of area youth, were incorporated into the plan. The court will accommodate many activities and have lines painted for basketball and futsal. This project is supported through funds from a $75,000 Wellmark Foundation Community Health MATCH grant and Community Development Block Grant funds.

Current status: Construction work begins the week of May 15, 2017, and is expected to continue through the end of July, depending on weather.

View the construction plan here.