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Park board discusses playground remodel, fireworks

The Newton Park Board met Wednesday to discuss tobacco-free parks, this year’s fireworks and the Maytag Park playground.

The board is working with the American Lung Association to prohibit smoking within public parks. In order to receive the signage provided by the ALA, the board approved to change the language from “smoke free” to “tobacco free” to meet the requirements.

Also on the agenda was this year’s fireworks, which the board is planning and continued organization.

To date, $5,500 has been raised for the event from individual and business donations, but more will need to be raised. Future donation efforts will include the dollar donations at Hy-Vee this spring.

“Last year, we may have had $3,500 at this point, and the previous year we maybe had $2,000, so we’re getting there. It’s really promising hearing that we’re at $5,500,” board member Adam Vandall said.

Committed vendors at this year’s event, according to board member Joe Urias, are Domino’s, Mississippi Queen, Hy-Vee and Midtown Cafe. Each vendor is charged $50 for a set-up fee.

The board also expressed an additional need for kaibo toilets, and talked about potential games and activities for children, such as a three-legged race, tug-o-war and slip-n-slide.

The last big item on the agenda was the remodelling of the Maytag Park playground, which the board hopes to replace later this year.

The board will be sending out a request for proposal for the restoration of the Maytag Park playground.

“We’re going to tear out what’s there and put a new playground in where the existing one is now,” Administrative Parks Superintendent Nathan Unsworth said.

Unsworth hopes to get the plans back next month so the board can discuss which features and proposals each think is the best for the park at the next meeting.

The board also discussed:

• Newton Wellness Coalition is discussing the addition of a future skate park, splash pad or ice skating rink to Newton, aligning to the park board’s goals.

• A non-profit is on the verge of establishment for people who want to volunteer with the parks and better advance the board’s goals. A non-profit would be able to apply for park grants that the city could not have access to.

• Maxine Udelhoven brought in old images of Maytag Park decorated for Christmas when it was the property of Fred Maytag, prior to 1977, and shared her interest in decorating the park for the holidays. She also said the park was excellent for a holiday driving tour because of the two loop roads.

• Joyce Moen brought in a letter from her son that includes ways to better utilize the spaces in the park, including using the park home as a public meeting space. She also spoke about methods of increasing security in the parks.

Staff writer Kate Malott may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 422, or at

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