City grant revives long-running Summer Playground Program

Wetherby Park
Activities will take place at Wetherby Park and Fairmeadows Park. — photo by Kara Harr

Thanks to a grant issued by the City of Iowa City as part of its Program for Improving Neighborhoods (PIN), the Grant Wood and Wetherby Neighborhood Associations are bringing back the long-established free Summer Playground Program, which had been nixed by city budget cuts earlier this year.

The program will offer children between kindergarten and 6th grade the opportunity to participate in arts and crafts, sports and splash pad activities at both Fairmeadows Park and Wetherby Park. All children require a parent or guardian to register them upon their first visit; children who have not completed kindergarten are still welcome, but they must be accompanied by an adult each day.

Iowa City Parks and Recreation officials have offered the program for over 50 years, making it one of the department’s longest-running programs according to Parks and Recreation Art Supervisor Joyce Carroll. Although the program used to occur at six to eight locations throughout the entire summer, this year it will only offered at the Fairmeadows Park and Wetherby Park and will not begin until July 6 due to the nature of PIN grant.

The Summer Playground Program will receive $3,500 through the grant.

“That pays for a couple recreation staff members at each site to plan and lead programs, and it also pays for the materials,” Carroll said.

The program will begin July 6 and run through August 14, with morning sessions running from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at Fairmeadows Park, and afternoon sessions taking place from 1 – 3 p.m. at Wetherby Park.

In the case of rain or inclement weather, the program will be cancelled for the day.