116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County residents will be able to enjoy a newly improved Morgan Creek Park — with a glowstone walkway — this summer.
The county’s Conservation Board is holding a ribbon-cutting June 3 to mark the large new playground and pavilion at its new day-use entrance to the park’s south side, 7212 E Ave. NW in Cedar Rapids.
The improvements also include natural resource enhancements to benefit water quality and wildlife habitats on the south side of the park, which complement the campground, arboretum, trails and natural area in the north part of the park.
The park had a “soft-open” on Memorial Day weekend so families could take advantage of the new facilities.
Work on the park was originally scheduled for completion in the fall of 2020, but the pandemic, the derecho and supply-chain issues delayed that timetable.
The county acquired the original 104 acres for the park in 1963, adding land over time through donations and purchase.
“At the time we started the park, it was a mile away from Cedar Rapids, and now Cedar Rapids is right at the entrance,” said Ryan Schlader, conservation community outreach specialist. “It’s been an oasis for the west side.”
The park now covers 352 acres, from the west edge of Cedar Rapids north toward Palo. touching, county-owned park is located on the west edge of Cedar Rapids and stretches north toward Palo.
Redevelopment of the park began with a 2015 master plan in response to community input and the completion of the Highway 100 bypass.
“This is probably one of the fastest growing areas in the city,” Deputy Conservation Director Daniel Gibbins said. “There’s something special out here and a lot of people, grant committees and donors thought the same thing.”
The $6.2 million project was funded with $3 million from the Linn County Water and Land Legacy Fund, $2.2 million from grants and donations, $500,000 from local-option sales taxes and $500,000 from Linn County reserve capital funds.
“I think the entire department is extremely excited, and we have residents calling and asking about it all the time,” Gibbins said. “The delays were frustrating, but it’s been done right and well. This is the crescendo of strategic planning over the years.”
The park’s new playground features three play areas. A larger pod has steep tube slides that Gibbins confirmed go “really fast.”
There are also a couple of smaller areas for younger children to explore as well as zip lines and swings that include inclusive and accessible options.
The playground is surrounded by a glowstone walkway that glows at night after being in the sun all day.
“We wanted to do something really unique,” Gibbins said. “The high pods offer safe ways to explore and adventure. The playground allows the kids to build skills with adventure play.”
The department is already looking at a new planning and design phase for the park. Gibbins said.
Plans include a new event lodge on the hill next to the new playground as well as a campground expansion to add 15 camping slots to 30 already there.
“Beyond that, we’re working on planting trees,” Gibbins said. “We completed our derecho cleanup here last winter, finally. This was one of our hardest hit areas.”
Comments: (319) 398-8255; firstname.lastname@example.org