Home City park Iowa City Parks and Recreation in the early stages of the city’s recreation improvement plan

Iowa City Parks and Recreation in the early stages of the city’s recreation improvement plan

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Iowa City Parks and Recreation’s Gather Here Recreation Master Plan will use public input to assess the public needs of certain facilities.

Grace Kreber

A playground sits in the snow at City Park in Iowa City on Monday, Jan. 27, 2022.


The Iowa City Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking public input on future improvement projects, as part of the Iowa City Gather Here Parks Recreation Master Plan.

The purpose of these Iowa City Parks and Recreation actions is to ask the community, through a survey, if the recreation facilities are still meeting their needs.

Iowa City Parks and Recreation is currently waiting to receive all public input to create the final plan.

One of the facilities that Iowa City Parks and Recreation wants to renovate is the city park pool, which was built in 1949 and is showing signs of deterioration.

Currently, Iowa City Parks and Recreation does not know what will happen to the pool, Parks and Recreation Director Juli Seydell Johnson said during an Iowa City Council business session Jan. 12.

“Pools don’t usually last that long and there are a number of behind-the-scenes issues that we put on some band-aids,” Iowa City Recreation Superintendent Brad Barker said. “It looks great for the public, but mechanically, behind the scenes, there are different issues, and so we need to start thinking about the future of what this pool looks like.”

Barker said another facility Iowa City Parks and Recreation wants to renovate is the aging Robert E. Lee Community Recreation Center.

“The public will use these resources, so I think we want to hear from them what we need and what will serve best,” Iowa City Councilwoman Laura Bergus said.

The Iowa City Council heard updates from Iowa City Parks and Recreation on the Gather Here Recreation Master Plan during their budget business sessions in January.

“We have received updates that they are currently in this evaluation process and are working with a consultant to engage the public and get the necessary feedback to help guide these renovations,” said Bergus said.

The Gather Here Recreation Master Plan, which was established last fall, will conduct a study of the current state of Iowa City’s parks and recreation facilities, such as the Robert E. Lee Recreation Center.

“We are trying to develop a roadmap for the future direction of our recreation facilities, programs and events,” Barker said.

Iowa City Parks and Recreation has used focus groups and community engagement events, Barker said, to try to gauge public opinion about what should be done for the facilities.

The Gather Here Recreation Master Plan has been in the works for some time, but had to be properly budgeted from Iowa City Parks operating funds before it could be implemented.

“We can start using it as a guide for how we handle programming and planning for special events and budgeting for facility upgrades,” Barker said.

The Iowa City Department of Parks and Recreation is writing a report and will officially adopt the plan this summer.