Community

Iowa City Creekside Park sees renovations

IOWA CITY — Passers-by may have noticed the closure of a stretch of Iowa City’s Court Hill Trail through Creekside Park.

The portion of trail closed last week, but Iowa City’s Director of Parks and Recreation Juli Seydell Johnson said the popular park space will be bigger and better when it reopens.

As part of the city’s parks and recreation master plan, Creekside Park will undergo several updates in the coming months, with plans in place to reopen the park in early 2019.

Seydell Johnson said the park’s playground, restroom and shelter have been demolished and work soon will begin to refurbish and rebuild a playground area, park shelter, restroom building and parking area. The total project cost is estimated at $650,000.

The Court Hill Trail also will be renovated and the overall space will end up larger thanks to several nearby parcels that were acquired by the city. The existing basketball court also will be refurbished and the open green space — a favorite among neighbors — maintained, she added.

The updated park also will include a first for Iowa City, a community orchard.

“We had planned to do a community garden, but we met with neighbors and they really had more of an interest in planting fruit and nut trees,” Seydell Johnson said. “This is going to the first one that we do as a city.”

As with all park updates, community feedback is crucial in shaping a new community space, she added.

“We really want our parks to be an extension of peoples’ living rooms, we want people to get out in the parks meeting people,” she said. “Anything we can do to make the parks easy to access, friendly, welcoming, that’s what we’re really concentrating on right now.”

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Seydell Johnson added that Creekside Park is just one of many slated for upcoming updates or renovations.

“Our master plan lays out a process for us to visit pretty much all 50 parks over the next 10 to 15 years, renovating them, bringing them up to current standards,” she said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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