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Dubuque city officials to examine current state and future of city parks

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:02 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Washington Park has become Kelly Eitter’s escape from work.

”I just like coming here during my lunch breaks when it is a nice day,” Eitter said. “It is better to be outside getting fresh air and sunshine rather than hanging out in the break room.”

City leaders in Dubuque recognize parks have become popular attractions in the past couple of years. For that reason, they are moving forward with putting together a master comprehensive plan.

”You kind of look at what it is like right now, what is in it, what is the state of it, in other words, the state of repair,” Marie Ware, the city’s leisure services manager, said. “But you also look at where do people want it to be.”

Ware said the study will, in part, focus on current amenities in parks and what people would like to see added to them in the future. She added they will be requesting city funds for the study in the upcoming fiscal year budget, but that they do have some funds budgeted currently to kick off the process.

“We have money budgeted to be able to do a deferred maintenance assessment, so that part of what is the state of our parks currently,” Ware said. “We also have budgeted to be able to be able to do a needs assessment, which is that part of starting to engage the community.”

Even though it is still very early, Ware said part of the study will focus on surveying the community. She said the city has done similar studies in the past, in Comiskey Park for example, where they ensured all voices were heard and represented.

“Making sure that when we did the input that we were listening, not just at the community as a whole because it is a larger park, but also we listened to the neighborhood and we tried to make sure that we also had people representative of those that lived in that neighborhood,” Ware said. ”Your population may be that there are more Marshallese that live in that neighborhood, there might be more that are African American that live in that neighborhood. You want to make sure that you are capturing the needs of all.”

Ware said parks are one of the few things available to everyone, which is why she said they want to ensure it is up to date with people’s needs and wants.

”It does not matter your socio-economic level, it does not matter where you come from, it does not matter any of the things, they are open and available to all, so they are kind of a great equalizer,” Ware said.

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