Iowa City Parks and Recreation Master Plans
Are you interested in the future of Iowa City Parks and Recreation? This page is home to all the details and information about Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department's master plans.
Current Master Plans
- Gather Here Recreation Master Plan
- Gather Here Park System Master Plan
- Tree Inventory
- Natural Areas Master Plan
- Urban Forest Management Plan
Gather Here Recreation Master Plan
Iowa City Recreation needs your help to reimagine recreation through the “Gather Here” Recreation planning initiative. This plan provides a study of the City’s current recreation centers to evaluate conditions, and lifespan of the facilities, as well as providing a visioning component to determine what programs, activities, and events are desired by the community. The goal is to shape the facilities and programs to better serve the Iowa City community.
Read more about the project by selecting a language below.
Berry Dunn was selected to lead this project geared at creating a prioritized plan to guide recreation programming and plans recreation facilities. Learn about the project planning phases. Read the Frequently Asked Questions about the Iowa City Gather Here Recreation Master Plan.
View the project website. Share your thoughts, ideas, and opinions with us by filling out surveys and engaging in community forums.
Fall Rec N' Rolls
Our Rec N' Roll trailer is coming to a park near you on Sundays this fall from 3 - 5 p.m. The events will be located in a variety of our parks around the city. Everyone is welcome! Activities vary each week and may include skateboards, scooters, Strider bikes, pedal cars, water play, and more. During these events, we will be seeking public input for our Recreation Master Plan. These events are FREE and are for all ages, children must be accompanied by an adult.Rec N' Roll dates and locations
September 12 - Upper City Park
September 19 - Willow Creek Park
September 26 - Mercer Park
October 3 - Fairmeadows Park
October 10 - Hunters Run Park
October 17 - Wetherby Park
October 24 - Scott Park
October 31 - Happy Hollow Park
Gather Here Park System Master PlanThis 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 focused on the department’s outdoor spaces and does 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 of October 2016 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.
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 geotechnical 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.
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 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
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, which 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.
Park Planning Projects
For updates on park projects, please visit icgov.org/parkprojects