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Improvements on the way for Elks Park

T-R Photo by TREVOR BABCOCK Parks and Recreations Director Geoff Hubbard (left) listens to input from community members on what improvements and additions could be made to Elks Park.

At a community engagement meeting on Wednesday, Marshalltown residents gave their input to Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee members on updates and additions they would like to see at Elks Park.

Community suggestions included a splash pad, soccer goals, a dog play area, natural seating and some interactive playground equipment. Residents also expressed a preference to see the basketball courts updated and additions made to the open space in the park.

Parks and Recreation Director Geoff Hubbard said the city has roughly $100,000 to invest in Elks Park, allocated as a part of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan established for 2018 through 2028. The plan originally identified nine priority parks to improve with Elks Park among them, the goal being to invest in a couple parks each year.

The planned improvements include adding lighting, improving accessibility by adding sidewalk and adding signage. The fence around the park will be replaced as part of a separate project. Hubbard estimates having $70,000 left over to spend on community suggestions after the planned improvements are made. He hopes for completion of the project to be by the end of December or early spring.

“We’re going to maybe be able to upgrade the basketball court, maybe do like an open space soccer field, maybe playground equipment, but probably not all three or four things.” Hubbard said. “I think two things plus the sidewalk for accessibility and the lighting and the signage.”

He said the park is meant to be a neighborhood park, and wanted to be careful not to add anything which would draw too many visitors in order to prevent overflow. He said the city wants a splash pad and is looking at adding one to Marshalltown during the next few years, but does not think Elks Park would be the ideal location for one.

The neighborhood park is 1.2 acres and contains a shelter, basketball court and several play structures for all ages. Playground equipment includes swing sets, a slide, a climbing wall, teeter-totter, animal springers, a merry-go-round and a climbing dome.

Hubbard said the next steps are to get together with city engineers to figure out what improvements are possible and what the estimated cost might be.

Marshalltown First Ward City Council Member Mike Ladehoff attended the meeting and said given the high density of population surrounding the park, improvements have the potential to make a big impact.

“Upgrading it a little bit is going to be bringing more people in to play on it,” Ladehoff said.

City Council Member Gary Thompson also attended the meeting, and told community members to get in touch with neighbors so they could also provide input on how to improve the park.

The Marshalltown Parks and Recreation department can be reached at 641-754-5715.

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Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611

or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.

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