The Iowa City City Council approved the renaming of Creekside Park to James Alan McPherson Park in March 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the newly redesigned park’s ribbon-cutting was delayed. In order to celebrate this important event, the Parks and Recreation Department will be hosting a Party in the Park event from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 5 at James Alan McPherson Park, located at 1856 7th Avenue Court.

The event will include a special park sign reveal, ribbon-cutting, music from Cedar County Cobras, yard games and kids crafts. Consultants will also be in attendance to discuss future park enhancements in honor of McPherson. 

The unanimous vote from council changes the park's name to honor the legendary career and life of McPherson, a longtime Iowa City resident, professor at the University of Iowa's prestigious Writers' Workshop, and the first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. 

Best known for his essays and short stories, McPherson's 1977 short story collection "Elbow Room" was the publication that earned him the Pulitzer. He would go on to teach at the Writers' Workshop for over 30 years. McPherson passed in 2016 at the age of 72. To learn more about the impact and legacy of McPherson, visit the University of Iowa's website

The park was renovated with a new playground, shelter, basketball court, and restroom in 2020.


Date of publication

Thursday, July 29, 2021