Iowa City Park Projects News

Park Projects

Iowa City is home to over 50 parks and natural areas. Almost 100 percent of Iowa City live within 1/2 mile of open space areas, including the City's Parks or natural areas. The Parks Division provides and maintains adequate open space, parks and trails for the residents of Iowa City. 

This page provides updates on current and future park projects. 

City Park Adventure Play

A new, large play area will be constructed on the hillside between Upper and Lower City Park in 2019. A public meeting was held on Oct. 10, 2018 to gather input. Preliminary designs are complete. Construction will take place during summer 2019.

View City Park Adventure Play designs here

REAP logo

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 final completion expected in early 2019.  

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.

Creekside Park

This project replaces the Creekside Park shelter, restrooms, and playground. Public input meetings and open houses took place during the spring and summer of 2017. Construction began in the fall of 2018 with anticipated completion in the summer of 2019. 

View the Creekside Park designs here

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 master planning phase for this sports complex is complete. The project has yet to receive funding for construction.

View the sports complex plan here.

Fairmeadows Park Playground and Shelter

The Fairmeadows Park picnic shelter and playground are scheduled for renovations in 2020. A public input meeting was held at the park on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Comment will be accepted through the paper or online form below, until Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019.The intention is to replace the current playground with a play area for preschool children as the Grant Wood Elementary playground is adjacent to the site. No changes are anticipated to the spray pad with this project. 

Playground Design Options:

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.

View the park plan here.

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.

View signage project here

View REAP map here

Napoleon Park

The Napoleon Softball Complex playground is scheduled for renovations in 2020. Further information will be available in the fall of 2019. 

Riverfront Crossings Park 

Riverfront Crossings Park is open to the public as construction on Phase 3 and beyond continue. The Grand Opening for Riverfront Crossings Park will take place on Saturday, July 20, 2019. 

Phase 1
Phase 1 includes park mass grading, steam alignment and stabilization, wetland creation, trail, traffic circle and parking lot construction. These projects were completed in 2018. 

Phase 2 
Phase 2 includes the nature Play Area, partially funded with Federal Land and Water Conservation Grant, Disney/NRPA Play Spaces Grant, Iowa City Pilot Club Donation, and Calder Wills Memorial Donation. The playground opened in the summer of 2018.

Phase 3
Phase 3 includes restroom/picnic shelter, park lighting, and signage. Construction began summer 2018 with anticipated completion in summer 2019. 

Phase 3.1
Phase 3.1 includes the addition of a plaza in the traffic circle including the Snelson sculpture. Anticipated completion of this phase is fall 2019. 
View renderings of the Snelson sculpture online. 

Phase 3.2
This phase includes a river plaza and river trails. Designs were complete in 2018. Funding has not been secured. 

The complete park master plan can be viewed here. 

Learn more about the greater Riverfront Crossings Development here. 

Park Accessibility Improvements

This annual project addresses accessibility concerns to current park amenities largely consisting of additional paved paths. Projects in 2018 included Pheasant Hill, Mercer, Highland, Tower Court, and Villa Parks. 

Parks scheduled for accessibility improvements in 2019 include College Green, Brookland, and Hunter's Run Parks. 

Scott Park

The Scott Park picnic shelter and playground are scheduled for renovations in 2020. The intention is to replace the shelter with a design specified in the 2017 Iowa City Park Master Plan. No changes are anticipated to Rita's Ranch Off-leash Dog Park, trails, athletic fields, stream bank, or parking lot.

The public is invited to look at three proposed playgrounds posted below, and give the Parks and Recreation department their feedback on which they think is best. An online public input form is available here.  The public is asked to send their feedback by Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. 

Wetherby Park

The Wetherby Park picnic shelter, restrooms, and playground are scheduled for renovations in 2020. A public input meeting was held on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Comment will be accepted through the paper or online form below until Wednesday, August 28, 2019. The intention is to replace the shelter and restroom to designs specified in the 2017 Iowa City Park Master Plan. No changes are anticipated to the splash pad, sport courts, gardens, trails, or parking lot. 

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 will take place during summer 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. 

View the Willow Creek Park designs:
Site design
Playground design