Iowa City Parks and Recreation has been selected to receive a $157,300 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant from the National Parks Service for a new nature play area at Riverfront Crossings Park, 1001 Clinton St.

The LWCF State & Local Assistance Program provides matching grants for local and state park projects outside national park boundaries to help build and protect a "seamless system of parks" from backyard to back-country.

When Riverfront Crossings Park opens to the public in 2018, the nature play area will offer many options for play, as well as access to Ralston Creek. The plan includes some traditional playground pieces such as swings and a slide, as well as exploration areas created from land form, landscaping, and creek features. The entryway arches from the former Sabin Elementary School will also be incorporated into the play elements of the site.

"Riverfront Crossings Park is quickly becoming Iowa City’s showcase on the Iowa River," Parks and Recreation Director Juli Seydell Johnson said. "The addition of the nature play area is a unique feature that will invite families to play together."

In addition to the nature play area, the new Riverfront Crossings Park will have trail connections to the Iowa River Trail, a 5-acre wetland area and new vistas of the Iowa River. Future phases of the project will add park shelters, restrooms, boat access to the Iowa River and a large community gathering event lawn.   

For more information about this project, visit

A photo of Riverfront Crossings Park construction
Riverfront Crossings Park construction from August 2017.

Date of publication

Tuesday, October 10, 2017