Park Bench Newsletter - Feb. 2017

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Eagle Scout Osprey nest project
City High student Max Otoadese and his project partner Jim Walters stand near the Osprey platform that Max built for his Eagle Scout project last fall. In January, the Parks and Recreation Commission recognized Max and Jim for their work on this project, which will hopefully house an Osprey family in the coming years. Check out his handiwork at the south end of Terry Trueblood Recreation Area.

Holiday Hours

President's Day
Mon., Feb. 20
Buildings and pools will be open regular hours. Both offices will be closed.

February classes, programs & events:

Block Printing & Bagels
(For Adults)
Saturday, Feb. 11
11-1 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Rec. Ctr. (RAL)

Celebrate the upcoming Valentine’s Day at this adult art workshop and brunch. Bring your sweetheart or a group of friends to learn how to use texture and pattern to create a stamp which will work on both paper and fabric. While you work, enjoy socializing and a bagel with cream cheese.  Fee: $12. 

Register online or in-person at either RAL or Mercer Park Aquatic Ctr./ Scanlon Gym Recreation Centers.

Freeze Fest
Saturday, Feb. 18
1-3 p.m.
Terry Trueblood Lodge

This outdoor learning program for families, offers activities such as snow painting, winter hiking, birding, games and survival skill-building. Admission is free. Dress warmly!

Save the Date:

March Nature Programs & Outdoor Learning

Iowa City Parks and Recreation is offering loads of great gardening classes and workshops in March.

Registration is open now for:

Create A Countertop Worm Composter
Tues., March 7

Seed Starting
Tuesday, March 14

Pruning Fruit Trees
Saturday, March 18

Design An Ever-blooming Garden
Tuesday, March 21

Deer-resistant Gardening
Tuesday, March 28

Register online or in-person at either RAL or Mercer Park Aquatic Ctr./ Scanlon Gym Recreation Centers.


RaQuishia Harrington joins Recreation staff

Harringtion, SPI Program Supervisor

The Iowa City Recreation division is pleased to announce the addition of RaQuishia Harrington as the new Program Supervisor for Underserved and Special Populations and Involvement. Harrington is an Iowa native and graduate of the University of Iowa. She has a degree in Therapeutic Recreation and brings with her many years working with diverse and underserved populations. Prior to joining the ICPR team, Harrington served as Director of the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County - Broadway Center location. She is also the the co-creator of G!WORLD, a local program designed to enhance the lives of self-defined minority young women and one of the founding members of The Sankofa Outreach Connection.

Of her work, Harrington says, "I am very passionate about social justice and I serve with vigor and purpose to bridge the gaps in communication, access to resources and services and development of programs, especially for the undeserved and disenfranchised. My driving force has always been my family and my number one goal each day is to find a way to positively impact someone's life anyway that I can." 

Welcome to Iowa City Parks and Recreation, RaQuishia!

Spring Break Camp

Spring Break Camp

Looking for a fun and educational outlet for your child during Spring Break? Look no further than the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department's Spring Break Camps, scheduled March 13-17 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Registration begins Wednesday, Feb. 22, and forms are now available at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, 220 S. Gilbert Street, or the Mercer/Scanlon facility, 2701 Bradford Drive, or download online at

New: Tot Time Jamboree


ICPR is dialing up the fun with a new addition to the Tot Time Program at Mercer Park Aquatic Center/Scanlon Gym!

Tot Time Jamboree will be held the last Friday of each month during the school year and include crafts, games, lego-building at the lego table, and three inflatable bounce features including an 18-foot slide! 

Fee: $1.50 per person / punch passes available.

Program begins, Friday, Feb. 24!

Changes coming to ICPR Garden Plot Program

The Iowa City Council has identified community gardens as a top priority, and ICPR is excited to announce the addition of two new community garden locations this growing season at Reno Street Park and Kiwanis Park.

New to gardening? ICPR is also rolling out a new Beginner Gardening program to help give individuals and families the tools and support they need to get growing this year, while caring for their own community garden plot. Details to come. 

Additionally, there is a new benefit for returning garden plot renters. Beginning this season, patrons who rented a garden plot in 2016 will have the opportunity to reserve the same plot in advance of the open registration. Returning gardeners will receive a form in the mail in the coming weeks to reserve their spot. Reservations must be confirmed by Monday, March 20.

The 2017 Iowa City Community Garden Plot program open registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, April 3. Spots available during open registration will exclude those pre-registered by 2016 gardeners.  


  • Chadek Green Park, 1920 Friendship Street
    (56 plots)
  • (NEW!) Kiwanis Park, 1519 Teg Drive
    (20 plots)
  • (NEW!) Reno Street Park,  516 Reno Street
    (16 plots)
  • Wetherby Park, 2400 Taylor Drive
    (111 plots)


Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, April 3 at the Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center, located at 220 South Gilbert Street. Plots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and interested gardeners are encouraged to arrive early on the first day of registration. The Recreation Center building will open at 6 a.m. Numbers will be available on the lower level of the building near the customer service desk. Staff will call those numbers in order beginning at 7:30 a.m. These numbers are to hold your place in line only; they do not represent your garden plot number assignment. Registrants will be required to sign a lease agreement to maintain a plot through Oct. 1.

For more information, visit our website.

Families Picking Up STEAM program continues

STEAM logo

Give these new Art of STEM (STEAM) activities a try. All activities in this program incorporate STEAM concepts of science, technology, engineering art and math. Activities are designed for youth ages 3 years and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Classes are held at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, 220 S. Gilbert St.

Fee: $7 per person, per class

Laboratory Exploratory
Test out your curiosity. Visit our lab as we observe, test, hypothesize, and chart the results of our art and science projects.

Sunday, February 26, 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Splash of Color
Did you know that art and science are closely related? Art and science concepts come to play in this colorful class. Participants will create melted crayon art, experiment with light and color, and create a collaborative piece of art.

Sunday, March 26, 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Mission Possible
You have been selected to participate in a top secret mission! Using different tools, you will complete various challenges individually and collaboratively while exploring the concepts of STEAM.

Sunday, April 23, 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Master Plan Updates

Gather Here Master Plan logo

Wondering about the status of a park project?  Visit our master plan page: