The Iowa City Council approved funding amounting to nearly $3 million for the first phase of the Riverfront Crossings Park during its Tuesday, June 6 meeting.
“Riverfront Crossings Park is set to be the new gathering place for Iowa City residents,” Parks and Recreation Department director Juli Seydell Johnson said in an email. “The park transforms an industrial area into a vibrant community space allowing access to the Iowa River and exploration of bike trails, Ralston Creek and wetlands.”
Seydell Johnson updated the council on the proposed phase one construction. The first developments on the property will be the realignment and redirection of that section of Ralston Creek. It also includes plans to realign the bike trail — one of the most biked trails in Iowa City — with construction of a new connection to Gilbert Street along Highway 6 and a bridge crossing of Ralston Creek at Second Street, near Big Grove Brewery and Tap Room. Five acres of wetland will also be created, with overhead power lines moved underground and work completed to grade the site in preparation for future park amenities.
The council also decided to fund what they called alternates one and two, which will add another north-south trail connection on the west side of the park and construct a new entrance at Clinton Street and Kirkwood Avenue on the north side of the park. The winning bid from Peterson Contractors Inc. estimated that the trail connection, alternate one, would cost about $51,657, and the new entrance, alternate two, would cost about $626,128.
The city will open up bidding for another park project, the nature play area, later this summer.
Seydell Johnson said the first phase projects will be completed in the summer of 2018, with most of the work completed this fall. Depending on the weather this year, the playground could be completed this fall or might be completed in the spring. Seeding will likely need to wait until after this coming winter.
View the full Riverfront Crossings Master Plan here. The master plan shows the long-term goals for the park as well as the projects planned for the first phase.