Park Planning Projects
Gather Here Park System Master PlanIowa 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.
Willow Creek Park
This project replaces the Willow Creek Park shelter, restrooms, and playground. Special attention is being given to creating a play space that is fun, inclusive and accessible to a wide range of users. The Willow Creek playground was last renovated in 1997. The shelter and restroom predate the playground. Planning for the project will take place during fall 2018 with construction scheduled for spring 2019.
A public input meeting and open house will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018 at Willow Creek Park, 1117 Teg Dr.
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 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.
Questions, contact Juli Seydell Johnson at 319-356-5100.
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. The new playground was constructed during summer 2017. Remaining construction is scheduled for spring 2018.
Current status: Park construction is planned for spring 2018.
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.
City Park Adventure Play
Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department invites the public to a design meeting for the Adventure Playground planned for City Park, 200 Park Rd. Share your thoughts at a public meeting from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in the Social Hall at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, 220 S. Gilbert St. This meeting will help shape the project, scheduled to begin late spring/early summer 2019. Design concepts can be viewed online.
The location of the new play area will be on the hillside north of City Park Pool, connecting Upper and Lower City Park. The area is envisioned as a large, new amenity to the park which will offer unique climbing, adventure, and slides to children and families.
Upper City Park
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.
City Park Cabins
Structural and architectural restoration of the two historic cabins located in City Park, 200 E. Park Rd., will begin on Monday, July 31, 2017. The restoration work will include but not be limited to wood shake shingle roof replacement, structural and concrete foundation stabilization, carpentry for wood floors, windows and doors, and log replacement and repair.
The project was awarded to North Construction of Muscatine with Heritage Woodworks of Clemens as the subcontractor.
The cabins were built in 1889 and 1913, and both are on the National Register of Historic Places so their restoration will follow strict historic guidelines within the plans and project manual.
Heritage Woodworks will carefully inventory, remove and transport both structures from the site to their warehouse in Clemens where they can repair the logs in a controlled environment. Most of the cabin repairs will take place offsite throughout the winter and spring and be reconstructed next summer with a final completion date of October 1, 2018.
The cabin project is supported in part by Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) funds administered by the Iowa Dept. of Cultural Affairs, a grant from the Community Foundation of Johnson County and private donations from Iowa City residents.
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: Construction on this project is planned for mid-summer through the fall of 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.
Current status: The master planning phase for this sports complex is complete. The project has yet to receive funding for construction.
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.
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
The City of Iowa City Happy Hollow shelter/bathroom project launched in May 2016. A public meeting was held on May 25, 2016.
Current status: The Happy Hollow Park shelter/restroom project originally set for construction fall 2017 has been delayed until 2018. Due to a number of factors relating to project design and availability of contractors, the project bids received were substantially higher than anticipated. The project will go back out for bids over the winter with construction anticipated in spring 2018.
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.
Current status: The master planning phase of this project is complete. The wooden pedestrian bridge near the First Ave. entrance was replaced with a pre-engineered steel bridge in May 2017. Due to a number of factors relating to project design and availability of contractors, the remaining work is scheduled for completion early in the fall of 2018. The remaining improvements will focus on the trail improvements (grading, erosion control and granular limestone replacement), repair or replacement of three bridges and the addition of directional signage at key locations along the trails.
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.
Current status: The master planning phase of this project is complete. Phase 1 of this project was completed in Fall 2017 and included restoration of Ralston Creek, wetland creation, and trail connections. Construction of Phase 2 of the park, the nature play area, will be finished in summer 2018. Additional areas of the park will be developed in the future as funding becomes available.