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Iowa City revises Ped Mall playground after public comment
IOWA CITY — After receiving an unprecedented amount of community feedback, the city of Iowa City is moving forward with a redesigned playground for the downtown Pedestrian Mall.
The city received more than 550 comments after unveiling a proposed playground design to replace the approximately 20-year-old structure near the Iowa City Public Library. Parks and Recreation Director Juli Seydell Johnson said she couldn’t think of a time a project prompted more than 100 responses.
“There is no comparison,” Seydell Johnson said. “I think that speaks to the fact that it is kind of the gathering space for the community.”
Based on the feedback, the project’s steering committee and the Parks and Creation Commission implemented a number of changes. Among them:
- Added stairs to the tower and inside the tower to allow access to the top of the structure for both children and caregivers. Seydell Johnson said a ramp would not fit in the space available.
- Added a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round and spin cycle in response to request for more ground-level activities.
- Added a small slide in the book area for younger children.
- Added a short zip line and an additional slide and monkey bar to create more “fun” for older kids.
Of the 550 responses, 225 said they liked the addition of shade to the playground, with some suggestions on how to do it differently, Seydell Johnson said. Those comments were considered in modifying the shade structures, she said.
“Instead of having smaller shade structures, we actually increased the amount of shade,” she said.
With some negative feedback to the original color scheme, the playground now has a teal and gray color scheme.
Seydell Johnson said some respondents requested fencing around the playground. While that wasn’t going to work with the Pedestrian Mall playground, citizens can expect to see fencing around at least one city playground in the future, Seydell Johnson said.
With the playground concept finalized, Seydell Johnson said the city will put out a request for proposals. Construction is anticipated to begin this fall or early next spring.
The new concept and a virtual walk-through are available at icgov.org/ParkProjects.
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