Riverfront could undergo changes


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The Riverfront Restoration Project hosted a public forum Wednesday to début plans for an Iowa City riverfront park, potentially featuring wetlands, a safer dam, and a zip line.

The city hosted a public forum regarding plans to turn to a flood-prone, defunct wastewater-treatment plant into a riverfront park. The functions of the plant have been taken over by the south wastewater-treatment plant.

The proposed plan is to turn the dam, a current safety hazard, into a more fisher-friendly area while encouraging pedestrian-oriented redevelopment, officials said.

“The goal is to blend the city grid with a natural look,” said landscape architect Scott Crawford. “The master plan is to blend downtown with land surrounding the river.”

The park is planned to have a number of “adventure elements” such as play places and boulders for children to climb on.

In the proposal, there is also an option to be able to zip line across the Iowa River to the other side of the park. Other proposals include a dog park, a community garden, ornamental gardens, and a boardwalk.

Additionally, the proposal includes plans to turn Ralston Creek into a more feasible wetland serving as a buffer from flooding.

The 2008 flood was a wake-up call, Crawford said.

Some community members at the meeting had concerns that the construction will endanger the animals currently living in the area.

“If we disrupt the animals’ habitat, we are doing the wrong thing,” Linda Fisher, community member, said.

Crawford maintains the work being done will not be environmentally hazardous.

Along with the adventure elements, there is a literature element that is just as vital to the proposal, said Pat Boddy, an adviser to the Iowa River Restoration Board.

Visitors will enter the park from Kirkwood Avenue near poetry portals, which could be 30 feet tall.

“This is a literature city,” Boddy said. “It’s cheesy to say, but there is something for everyone at this park.”

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