Home > News List > City Officially Opens New Park Friday

City Officially Opens New Park Friday

City Officially Opens New Park Friday

September 7, 2022

The City of Cedar Rapids will officially open Hughes Park, 2100 Wilson Avenue SW, on Friday, September 9 at 10:00 a.m. with a ribbon cutting event. The park historically preserves an outdoor environmental space previously owned by the Hughes family. It features nature-themed play equipment, including log balance beams and stepping pads created by trees lost in the Derecho. Other features include a naturalized teaching area and birding area with educational signs on how to identify birds, how birds use trees, and common birds of Iowa. The park includes two half-court basketball courts with drainage that allows for the conversion of the courts to an outdoor ice rink in the winter. Typical park amenities are also available including a rentable pavilion, an ADA-compliant restroom, and an open field with flexibility for multiple sports. A loop of hard-surfaced and grass-mowed trail provides access to the teaching area, birding area, and play equipment. An acre of pollinator habitat will be added with grass trails mowed around it.

“With studies demonstrating the positive benefits that the outdoors provides kids, we are hoping this new park gets them away from their screens and into the park to play,” said Hashim Taylor, Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Director.

The project is a result of a public-private partnership with the Hughes family. As part of their contribution, Dwight Hughes provided a horse sculpture at the entrance of the park that represents the draft horses once used in the landscape nursery business that the family established on the site. Artist Steve Huffman of Ottumwa, Iowa, worked for 10 months welding hundreds of scrap metal pieces, old tools, and machine parts to create the life-size horse. The sculpture includes a Welsh dragon, the national symbol of Wales, the country William John Hughes immigrated from. The sculpture also includes an oak leaf, representative of the tree of Iowa. The walking cultivator that is part of the sculpture was used by three generations of the Hughes family to cultivate field-grown nursery stock on the site. The sculpture includes elements that discourage birds from nesting within the sculpture. It has sharp edges and is not to be climbed.

“We are thrilled to have this sculpture at Hughes Park. It tells the history of the park and identifies the park from the street. We have had visitors from other states let us know that they have come here just to see the sculpture,” Taylor said. Speakers at the event will include city officials, the sculptor, and Tom Hughes, representing the Hughes family.

As part of the opening, the Parks and Recreation Department will post a scavenger hunt for families on their Facebook page on Friday. The scavenger hunt is designed to orient people to the park and its features. Individuals who post a picture of themselves near the horse sculpture and post it on the Department’s Facebook page will be entered into a drawing for a free pavilion reservation at the park within the next year. The reservation has a value of $80. Additional activities will be scheduled at the park this fall and winter.

Funding for the park came from REAP grants, the Hughes family, and the Parks and Recreation Department budget. 

© 2024  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 101 First Street SE

Powered By Revize Login