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Iowa City spending millions to make parks more accessible

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – The Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department has been updating several parks this summer, as part of its 2017 Master Plan. One of the main goals is to make all parks compliant with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

“They would like to see the parks be more inclusive and that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” Director Juli Seydell Johnson said.

Riverfront Crossings Park opened last month, as the city’s first “flood resilient” park. The park also includes several “nature-play” elements.

Creekside Park is now set to reopen next week. People in the area have been expressing their opinions on the public project; some wishing it had more creative elements.

“The playground is the same ‘cookie-cutter’ structure we keep seeing everywhere and lacks the ability to spark creativity,” Iowa City resident Shannon Gassman said in a letter to city council recently.

Seydell Johnson says people asked for both types of equipment at the park. She reminds people that the city tries to install unique parks across the city, and each has a different purpose.

“Here we have more traditional play equipment and we get feedback from residents wanting to see all of the above. So, we do our best to try and mix and match and get a little bit out in different areas of the city,” Seydell Johnson said.

The new park will be much more accessible to people with disabilities; featuring a new ramp to the play structure and a larger swing with a harness.



Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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