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Five year plan reviewed by park board

Published: Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 10:02 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 10:24 a.m. CDT
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(Jamee A. Pierson/Daily News)
Newton Community Services Manager Brian Laube reviews the park system's five year plan with the park board on Wednesday.

The Newton Park Board got an update on the city’s five year plan, including work that has been completed, during its regular meeting Wednesday. Community services manager Brian Laube along with parks operation superintendent Nick Cummins and public works director Jody Rhone walked through portions of the plan which was developed in 2013, updated in 2014 and reviewed in 2016.

The plan was divided into four points with the first being to develop a unique vision for each park to expand usage throughout the park system by supporting project that target certain user groups or residents from the surrounding neighborhood. Within that point the goals were to improve accessibility at Sunset Park, redesign Aurora Park to encourage more teen usage and develop 30-Acre Park to attract more outdoor recreation enthusiast.

“Since this plan was adopted we have added the boulder park and the zipline,” Laube said. “I understand that we do have a design for a skate park and we are waiting to see if we have any funds for that.”

The second point focused on facilitating more opportunities for citizens to embrace a healthy active lifestyle by expanding recreational opportunities and improve existing facilities. Several projects have been completed to fulfill this goal including overlaying the tennis courts at Aurora Park, adding new chairs and loungers at the pool, improving accessibility at park shelters and athletic fields and installing pickle ball courts on the existing tennis court.

“The city has also started doing updates and maintenance on the city-wide bike trial system, it is kind of an ongoing project,” Laube said.

Adding modern restroom facilities in Woodland, Aurora and Maytag Parks have helped to achieve the goals identified in the 2012 Comprehensive Plan set out of by the city council, a part of the third point for the plan. Another noticeable improvement are the upgraded playground equipment at both Aurora and Maytag parks.

The final point was to expand outreach efforts to encourage more park usage, having citizens take an active role in caring for the parks and more awareness of park facilities and amenities. With the reorganization of city positions, a larger focus is expected to be put on the recreational uses of the park including development new program and activities for patrons to take part in at the parks. Laube said he is also starting to work with the organization Friends of the Newton Parks to jumpstart volunteer efforts.

Cummins updated the board on work being completed at Maytag Pool including increasing lounging space by removing a formerly fenced in area, repainting the pavilion floor and installing new umbrellas along with looking to replace aged stairs. 

Rhone brought recently created renderings of Sunset Park for the board to view and critique. Additions include a trail system, fitness equipment, a new playground, nature play area and an additional parking lot and shelter. Suggestions from the board were to tie the trail system in with the surrounding buildings, a possible shelter at the top of the sledding hill and a dog park.

The board also gave the go-ahead to bring the ideas for Sunset Park to the public to get feedback from community members and those who frequent the park.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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