Community petitions to save local park in northwest Iowa

In this Aug. 9, 2018 photo, neighborhood activists Brandy Cook, left, and Jon Anderson pose for a photo at a public park in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa. They petitioned the city to save the playgrounds and basketball courts from closure. (Justin Wan/Sioux City Journal via AP)

SERGEANT BLUFF — Residents in northwest Iowa have banded together to save their local park.

Jon Anderson told the Sioux City Journal that he and his neighbors recently petitioned to save the Oak Hills park in Sergeant Bluff. The pocket park is small and consists of basketball courts and playground equipment, but it’s still used by children in the neighborhood, Anderson said.

“When we heard the city was considering taking the basketball hoops down, we had to spring into action,” he said.

Anderson and his neighbors were able to secure 118 signatures in a petition to save the park.

The move led to the City Council deciding not to get rid of the basketball hoops and agreeing to help write a grant for new playground equipment.

“There are other, newer parks in Sergeant Bluff,” Brandy Cook, a longtime resident in the neighborhood. “But this park was our park.”

Anderson believes showing the City Council that residents were passionate about bettering the neighborhood is what made the difference.

“It wasn’t a handful of people making a decision,” he said. “Instead, this was an entire neighborhood wanting to preserve something that was important to everybody.”

Anderson has planned a community day with food and music to clean up the park Aug. 19.