Public invited to see plans for the new City Park playground, as the park’s old rides are being sold online

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Public input meeting: City Park adventure playground

Robert A. Lee Recreation Center — Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Plans for the new City Park adventure playground. — courtesy Iowa City Parks and Recreation.

The amusement rides that entertained generations of children in City Park are gone, and the Iowa City Department of Parks and Recreation wants the public’s input on its plans to fill the space the rides occupied for almost 70 years.

On Wednesday, there will be an hour-long meeting at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center starting at 6:30 p.m., during which the public will get a first look at the new adventure playground area planned for City Park. The playground will be on the hillside north of City Park Pool, and will connect the upper and lower parts of the park. Instead of rides, it will focus on climbing and sliding. It will also be in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the old rides weren’t.

In addition to the meeting, Parks and Recreation will also be taking comments on the plans on Facebook page and via email through Sunday, Oct. 14.

Plans for the City Park adventure playground — courtesy of Iowa City Parks and Recreation

The former City Park rides are currently on sale on, a site governments use to sell surplus material. Anyone can bid on the rides and buy them.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there had been 12 bids on the City Park train, driving its price up to $25,050. The high bid on the carousel was $15,150. The airplane ride was going for $3,000, and biding on the Ferris wheel had reached $2,875. The whale ride was the best deal (if you enjoy whale rides) at $1,225. Bids will be accepted through Sunday, Oct. 14.

Construction on the new adventure playground is scheduled to begin by early summer 2019.

Monday, July 2, 2018. — photo by Zak Neumann

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  1. If the city of Iowa City wanted something new for kids to do, that was also ADA compliant, why didn’t they just say so?
    Instead, we got the sad song about the rides that were worn out and don’t work anymore and that’s sad, so boo hoo.
    That was a lie, plain and simple.
    Rides that are worn out don’t get auction bids of $75,000 and those bids will be over $100,000 when all is said and done.
    In the city’s defense, they don’t look at it as a lie. From their perspective, they know better than you and I. They go to conferences and seminars, even webinars on these types of things. They’re cutting-edge.
    No, someone got an idea (a cutting-edge idea no doubt) that we need something new and exciting because those rides are old-timey, and we can’t be old-timey.
    We’re Iowa City.
    So, let’s do the tried and true local way here of announcing the rides need “fixing” on a slow day in the middle of Summer so no one will really notice and then we can put in some brand-new plastic stuff that’s available in every park, every town, USA. And we just happen to have plans all drawn up with a cute little name and everything.
    Remember, the same people that approve this approved the Park Avenue Bridge design, but without the aesthetically pleasing chain-link fences around the arches.
    That ugly fencing is an example of when cutting-edge meets reality.

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