Iowa City’s Wetherby Park is undergoing a renovation


New shelter, playground and bicycle repair station help improve park in Iowa City’s southern district

The Wetherby Park Playground in Iowa City is seen on June 25. (Caleb McCullough / The Gazette)

A bicycle repair station can be seen in Wetherby Park on June 25. The repair station was installed with a grant from the Neighborhood Improvement Program.

A newly installed shelter is seen at Wetherby Park on June 25. The shelter was installed with the playground in the fall of 2020 (Caleb McCullough / The Gazette)

A new playground, shelter and bicycle repair stations have joined the facilities at Wetherby Park in Iowa City, and community members said the upgrades are helping to strengthen the neighborhood and build the community.

As part of an ongoing project to improve the city’s parks, Wetherby recently undertook construction to install a larger pavilion and separate toilets, and replace playground equipment. Also set up a bicycle repair station in the park in early June, allowing cyclists to fill their tires and make minor repairs to their bikes while on the move.

Megan Alter, a member of the South District Neighborhood Association and candidate for the Iowa City Council election in November, said the improvements helped make the park a unique destination in Iowa City.

While the bulk of the renovations to the structure were completed last fall, Parks and Recreation director Juli Seydell Johnson said finishing touches, like plumbing to restrooms and community gardens, had not been completed. completed only at the beginning of June.

The expanded pavilion allows larger groups to meet in the park, and Alter said the new structures allow for activities for all ages.

“All around they did a very, very good job, and it needed it,” she said. “Even though they made it through a lot of hardship, it went really well.”

Alter said the bike repair station will help people make good use of the trails around the park.

The repair station, one of many dotted around city parks, was funded by a Neighborhood Improvement Program grant to the South District Neighborhood Association.

Grants are awarded by the city to neighborhood associations to beautify and improve neighborhoods in Iowa City.

Alter said Wetherby Park is often a hangout for kids and adults to take bike rides through Sycamore Trailways or Terry Trueblood, and the repair station makes the area more bike-friendly.

The neighborhood association has also worked with the Bike Library and other cycling groups to organize leisure rides in the southern neighborhood.

“These groups have been very vocal in advocating for making it more bike-friendly, and it’s a big step in that direction,” Alter said.

Alter said the improvements to Wetherby Park help build the Southern District community and improve its image in the community.

“We have an incredibly close-knit and proud community,” she said. “The work we have done as neighbors has helped build the Southern District in a big way and in a way that makes us really happy to live here. “

Seydell Johnson said resilient and beautiful parks improve the neighborhoods in which they reside.

“My goal is to get people out of their homes at night, to get to know their neighbors, so that they have a real sense of community, and having quality parks throughout the community does that,” he said. she declared.

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