March Park Bench Newsletter

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March Park Bench Newsletter

Upcoming Events

First Friday Free Fitness &
$1 Aqua Zumba
Friday, Mar. 8
5:30 to 6:30 p.m. & 7 to 7:45 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Upcycling Convention
Wednesday, Mar. 13
6:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
Eastside Recycling Center

Free Sunday Water Aerobics
Sunday, Mar. 17
11:15 a.m. to noon
Mercer Park Aquatic Center

Spring Equinox
Wednesday, Mar. 20
10 a.m. to noon
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Animals and Conservation Workshop
Saturday, Mar. 23
2 to 3:30 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Outrageous Science
Sunday, Mar. 24
1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Getting to Know Endangered Species: Elephants
Sunday, Mar. 24
1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Safe Swim Saturday
Saturday, Mar. 30
10 to 11 a.m.
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Paint a Rain Barrel
Saturday, Apr. 6
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Napoleon Ln SE

Staff Spotlight

Each month we will highlight a staff member from our parks, recreation, government buildings, or cemetery divisions. This month, we'll get to know Chad Lautner from the Cemetery Division.


Tell us about yourself: I grew up on a farm outside of Jefferson and moved to Iowa City in 2002. I really enjoy the culture and sense of community that Iowa City provides! I enjoy permaculture, home renovation, and traveling abroad.

How long have you been with the City of Iowa City? I have worked for the City of Iowa City for almost 4 years.

What’s your favorite part of your job? I love working outdoors!

Favorite spot in Iowa City: Hickory Hill is a remarkable hiking area that provides miles of trails and is a hidden gem within city limits.

One thing about you no one would guess: I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 25, and through this experience, it has given me an improved outlook on life!  

Park Highlight: Chadek Green Park

Did you know Iowa City Parks and Recreation oversees 50 parks? Each month we’ll spotlight a different park in our newsletter. This month's feature is Chadek Green Park.

Chadek Green

Located on the east side of Iowa City off Friendship St., Chadek Green Park is a lush sight in the summer months. 

Chadek Green Park is one of four Iowa City parks that has community garden plots available to the public. 56 10' by 20' plots are available to gardeners. Flowers, peppers, leafy greens, and much more can be found at Chadek Green Community garden plots. 

Spring Break Camp registration now open


The Iowa City Parks & Recreation Department is excited to announce a new spring break experience for teens: Teen S.T.E.A.M. University. Teen S.T.E.A.M. University is designed to help youth grades 6-8 build character, develop positive social skills, and practice responsibility.

Teen S.T.E.A.M. University runs March 20-22, 2019. Register for one day or many. Program runs 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mercer Park Aquatic Center, 2701 Bradford Drive.

Questions? Contact RaQuishia Harrington at 319-356-5100. 

Spring Break Camp

Dream, explore, and create with the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department's Destination Exploration Spring Break Camp for grades K-6! In addition to day-long camps, morning robotics sessions will be offered with Sylvan Learning. 

Destination Exploration Spring Break Camp runs March 18-22, 2019. Register for one day or many. Camp hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; however, supervised open play is available at no extra cost for families to drop off as early as 7:30 a.m. and to pick up as late as 5:30 p.m. 

Questions? Contact Joyce Caroll at 319-356-5100. 

Registration forms for Destination Exploration Spring Break Camp and Teen S.T.E.A.M. University are available at

Paper copies of registration forms available at:

  • Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, 220 S. Gilbert St. 
  • Mercer Park Aquatic Center, 2701 Bradford Dr. 

Time to register for Garden Plots

Registration will open soon for the Iowa City Parks & Recreation Department's Garden Plot Program. Those who rented plots in 2018 will have the opportunity to reserve their spot from March 8 through March 22, 2019. 

In-person registration for plots not leased by 2018 renters will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, April 1 at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, 220 S. Gilbert Street.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2, all remaining plots will then be open for online and phone registration, as well as in-person.

2019 Garden Plot Locations

For more information, visit 

Rita's Ranch Dog Park closure

After flooding issues, as well as snow and icy conditions this winter, Rita’s Ranch Dog Park will be closed until further notice. As soon as conditions allow, park staff will re-open Rita’s. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Get real-time closure information and updates at

Rita's Ranch

Spring Equinox

Celebrate the beginning of spring at our Spring Equinox event! We'll decorate eggs, plant seeds, and explore the awakening of the Discovery Garden.

All are welcome! Meet in the Social Hall at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 and explore the Discovery Garden before leaving.

Youth must be accompanied by an adult. 

Spring Equinox