Iowa City Parks and Recreation Planning Documents

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 geared at creating 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. The plan was completed in June 2017, and was approved with minor revisions by the Parks and Recreation Commission on July 12. The plan was approved by the Iowa City Council in Sept. 2017.

View the Parks Master Plan online.
View the Parks Master Plan park inventory online.
Note: These are large files and they may load slowly.


Tree Inventory

In 2016, the Iowa City Parks and Forestry Division began an inventory of the City's trees. Over the past three years, a team of arborists from Plan-It Geo, a geo-technical firm from Colorado, gathered data on the City's urban forestry. Plan-It Geo also mapped and cataloged the tree species. This inventory yielded an interactive map to help the Parks and Forestry Division better manage and maintain Iowa City's urban forest.

View the tree inventory online
Note: The information and data presented herein is a snapshot in time and is intended to be an accurate representation of existing records. The City of Iowa City assumes no liability for errors or omissions. Users relying on this information should do so at their own risk.

Plan-It Geo provides online tutorials for navigating and using the tree inventory.


    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. Applied Ecological Services of Minnesota was selected to lead this 9-month project. 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

    View the full plan here. Note: This is a large file and it may load slowly.


    Urban Forest Management Plan

    Iowa City is dedicated to building a thriving urban and community forest for a healthy and vibrant city. Realizing the community forest is a valued asset, Iowa City invested in a collaborative planning process, involving extensive urban forest resource and program analysis to develop a clear, concise and timeline oriented Urban Forest Management Plan.

    The overall goal of the planning process was to develop a sustainable Urban Forestry Program, led by the Division of Parks and Forestry, who is committed to this measured, monitored, and strategic long-term investment.

    The strategic planning process engaged City staff, with the interest of the community, to evaluate all aspects and components of a comprehensive community forestry program. Together, this team developed goals and strategies to guide the City’s Urban Forestry Program over the next 20 years. 

    Note: these documents are drafts until accepted by the Iowa City City Council. Final documents will be posted at that time. 

    View the Urban Forest Management Plan summary here
    View the full Urban Forest Management Plan here. Note: This is a large file and it may load slowly.


    Park Planning Projects

    For updates on park projects, please visit icgov.org/parkprojects