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Flood-resilient park costing $50 million opening in Iowa City

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – Preparing for future flooding, city employees are about to officially open a new park up against the Iowa River, doubling as a wetlands for river overflow.

“We didn’t want it to look like a farm pond. We wanted it to have plantings that look aesthetically pleasing when the water’s low, but then functions as a holding place when the water comes up,” Parks and Rec director Juli Seydell Johnson said.

The park stands where the city’s wastewater treatment plant used to before the 2008 floods, so renovating it took a lot of money. Locals are happy with the work for transforming a less-than-desirable part of town.

“The area was just not a great area anymore,” Barbara Messer said, whose business across the river from the park flooded in 2008. “The whole area has just scaled up in the last two years.”

A small part of the park is currently closed for flooding, but that just might be the norm; and it doesn’t bother Messer.

“However it ends up is good. Whether it does or doesn’t have water, it’s better than it was without a doubt,” Messer said.

There’s two more phases of park construction set to happen soon, with Riverfront Crossings Park officially opening July 20.

Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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