May Park Bench Newsletter

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May Park Bench newsletter heading

Holiday Hours

Memorial Day
Monday, May 27
Buildings and pools will be open regular hours. Administrative offices closed.

Upcoming Classes & Programs

Opening Day of the 2019 Farmers Market Season
Wednesday, May 1
5 to 7 p.m.
Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp

Earth Friendly Forum
Wednesday, May 1
7 to 8:30 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

SPI Ice Cream Social
Thursday, May 2
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Mercer Park Aquatic Center

First Friday Free Fitness & $1 Aqua Zumba
Friday, May 3
5:30 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Forest Bathing: Mindful Walks in the Woods
Saturday, May 4
9:30 a.m.
Hickory Hill Park

Strider Bike Race
Sunday, May 5
1 to 3 p.m.
Kiwanis Park

Eco Film Festival
Thursday, May 9
7 to 9 p.m.
Iowa City Public Library

Trueblood 100 Family Bike Ride
Sunday, May 12
1 to 6 p.m.
Terry Trueblood Recreation Area

Mother Daughter Weekend
Friday & Saturday, May 17-18
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Eco Book Discussion: Kiss the Ground
Saturday, May 18
10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Iowa City Public Library

Earth Friendly Forum
Wednesday, May 22
7 to 8:30 p.m. 
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

Gardening for Monarchs
Sunday, May 26
2 to 3:30 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Recreation Center

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 our newly-promoted Aquatics Program Supervisor, Kate Connell!

Kate Connell

In a couple sentences, tell us about yourself: I have worked in the aquatics field for 15 years sharing my passion for safety, leadership and training, and equity in recreational water use. I also have experience in private recreation as a previous yoga studio owner and yoga teacher trainer. I love to spend my recreational time with my husband Matt and our son, Anderson.

How long have you been with the City? 7 years.

What’s your favorite part of your job? I love working with people – from finding staff at job fairs to enrolling kids in swim lessons to running special events like our Water Safety Awareness Day – anything that involves exposing members of our community to the joy of aquatics is a highlight.

Favorite spot in Iowa City: Deluxe Cake & Pastries for a latte and stroll down Summit Street or paddle boarding sunset at TTRA.

One thing about you no one would guess:  I’m from Massachusetts! You’d never guess from a casual conversation, but you may hear it pop up from time-to-time when I said “soda” instead of pop and fill my bottle up at the “water bubbler”.

Park Highlight

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 Terry Trueblood Recreation Area. 


Terry Trueblood Recreation Area is one of Iowa City's most popular parks. Terry Trueblood offers a variety of recreational activities including trails, fishing, and bird-watching. Canoes, kayaks, and other water rentals are available through Fin & Feather H20, located on site. During winter months Terry Trueblood Recreation Area offers ice skating, ice fishing, and other winter activities. 

The Park Lodge at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area is the perfect place for any special occasion. 

Ten Things to Know for May

Spring is in full swing! This month's newsletter features a rapid-fire "Top Ten" things to know for the Iowa City Parks & Recreation Department. 

Farmers Market

Grab your baskets and bags and head over to the Iowa City Farmers Market! Load up on local handcrafted, homemade, and homegrown items. 
Wednesdays, 5-7 p.m.
Saturdays, 7:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
405 E. Washington St.
The 2019 Farmers Market season opens today, May 1.
More information at

2019 PIP

Connect with friends, family and neighbors this summer at Party in the Park! The season begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, 2019, at Mercer Park, located at 2701 Bradford Drive. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy live music by the Iowa City Community Band. Games, arts and crafts, and treats will also be available. Each party will have its own theme this year.

Follow our Facebook page at or visit our website at to stay up-to-date. Party in the Park is free and open to the public.


Beginning late-May, Emerald Ash Borer treatment will
begin for City-owned Ash Tree(s) selected as viable
treatment candidates. Trees being treated will be marked with silver tags and temporary flags posted next to the tree. Treatment typically occurs once every two years to minimize infestation and prolong the life of the tree. While treatment may prolong the life of the tree, there is no guarantee the tree will survive infestation. For more information, visit

Scanlon Gym turns 20

It's time for a celebration! On Wednesday, May 22, the Scanlon Gymnasium at Mercer Park Aquatic Center will be 20 years old!

The festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. with a Birthday-themed Tot Time. After school we'll hold a basketball skills competition. Finally, we'll skate the night away with a roller skating party from 6 to 8 p.m.

All activities are free and open to the public. No pre-registration required. Youth must be accompanied by an adult.

RainOut Line

Stay up-to-date with program delays, cancellations, and facility closures by using ICPR's RainOut Line. Visit for real-time updates. Sign up to receive text or email alerts. The RainOut Line hotline is also available by calling

Park Projects

Keep up with all of Iowa City's park projects at This page provides information about current and future park projects including timelines, playground renderings, and updates along the way. 

Trueblood 100

Keep it 100 and join us at the inaugural Trueblood 100 Family Bike Ride! Coined as the "shortest century," this ride is perfect for everyone from little tikes to adults. The event is free and open to the public.

The ride is meant to be a community and family event — in order to participate, you are required to have a team of 2 or more. As a team, you will complete one of four "century" ride options — the more people you have on your team, the less miles you'll ride!

This event will take place on Sunday, May 12 from 1 to 6 p.m. at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area. No fee to participate.
No pre-registration required.

Mark your calendars! Iowa City's newest park, Riverfront Crossings Park, will have a grand opening celebration on Saturday, July 20. More information will be released in the coming weeks. 

RFX Grand Opening
Playgrounds Program

The Iowa City Parks and Recreation 2019 Playgrounds Program provides games, arts and crafts, and activities around the themes of theatre, STEAM, cultural experiences, and environmental education for children completing grades K-6.

The 2019 Playgrounds Program will run June 10 through
August 2, Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. There is no fee to participate.

Teen Dynamics

Is your teen looking for a fun place to be in the evenings this summer? The Iowa City Parks and Recreation's Teen Dynamics drop-in program welcomes students in grades 7-10 to participate in arts, crafts, sports, games and field trips from noon to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. There is no fee to participate in this program and enrollment is on-going; however pre-registration is required.

Register online at