116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A new playground, shelter and bike repair stations have joined the amenities at Wetherby Park in Iowa City, and community members said the improvements help strengthen the neighborhood and build community.
Part of an ongoing project to improve the city’s parks, Wetherby recently underwent construction to install a larger pavilion and separate restroom, and replace the playground equipment. The city also installed a bike repair station at the park in early June, which allows cyclists to fill their tires and make minor repairs to their bikes on the go.
Megan Alter, a member of the South District Neighborhood Association and a candidate in the Iowa City Council November election, said the improvements have helped make the park stand out as a destination in Iowa City.
While the bulk of the structure renovations were completed last fall, Parks and Recreation Director Juli Seydell Johnson said final touches, like plumbing to the restroom and community gardens, weren’t finished until early June.
The expanded pavilion allows for larger groups to meet at the park, and Alter said the new structures allow activities for all ages.
“All around they did a really, really good job, and it needed it,” she said. “Even though they did it through a lot of difficulties it has really come out well.”
Alter said the bike repair station will help people make good use of the trails around the park.
The repair station, one of several peppered around city parks, was funded with a Program for Improving Neighborhoods grant to the South District Neighborhood Association.
The grants are given by the city to neighborhood associations to beautify and improve Iowa City’s neighborhoods.
Alter said Wetherby Park often is a meeting place for kids and adults alike to go on bike rides through Sycamore Trailways or to Terry Trueblood, and having the repair station makes the area more bike-friendly.
The neighborhood association also has worked with the Bike Library and other cycling groups to organize leisure rides around the South District.
“Those groups have been very vocal about advocating for making it more bike-friendly, and this is a huge step in that direction,” Alter said.
Alter said the improvements in Wetherby Park help build the community of the South District and improve its image in the community.
“We have an incredibly tight-knit and proud community,” she said. “The work that we’ve done as neighbors has helped build up the South District in important ways, and in ways that make us really happy to live here.”
Seydell Johnson said resilient and beautiful parks enhance the neighborhoods they reside in.
“My goal is to get people out of their houses at night, getting to know their neighbors, so they have a real sense of community, and having quality parks throughout the community does this,” she said.
Comments: (319) 398-8473; email@example.com