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New developments at Victory Park viewed by city council

Park renovations map provided by AHTS Architects. The map shows the location of public art installation "Revival" and a potential parking turn-around that could be installed at a later date, City Administrator Steve Diers said.
Park renovations map provided by AHTS Architects. The map shows the location of public art installation “Revival” and a potential parking turn-around that could be installed at a later date, City Administrator Steve Diers said.

By Kate Hayden | khayden@charlescitypress.com

Eight years after the Meyer family donated the riverfront land of their former home, Victory Park will see major improvements by the summer of 2017.

The Charles City Council reviewed plans presented by Larry Kurtz of AHTS Architects during their Monday planning session. The park, bordered by the Cedar River, Clark and Illinois streets, will have new sidewalks and landscaping, a public art installation and new park signage donated by the Meyers to memorialize the devastating effects of the state’s 2008 flood, and some of the rebuilding process. The family officially gifted the park property to the city in 2009.

“As part of that flooding experience, I traveled around Charles City with both Senators Grassley and Harkin. It was that big an event that it attracted two senior senators,” Mayor Jim Erb told the council. “One of the places we visited was (this park’s) location, which had such a major impact on everybody.”

As part of the park’s renovations, a public art centerpiece titled “Revival” by sculptor David Williamson will sit prominently overlooking the bike path and river. The final piece, anticipated to be publicly opened over Labor Day weekend, is made from the tangled steel and cables of the former historical suspension bridge which the flood wiped out.

The park’s site concept was developed in 2014 through Charles City Parks and Recreation, City Engineer John Fallis, the Park Board, the Charles City Arts Council, City Improvement Association, Williamson and private donors, Mayor Erb noted. “Revival” itself was designed through a multiple-day workshop between Williamson and city residents in 2012.

The current cost estimate of park renovations is about $50,000, Kurtz told the council, excluding the cost of the “Revival” sculpture footings. Most funding will come from the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Victory Park fund, and the remaining will be made up from previous fundraising efforts and private donations. Sculpture footings could cost between $2,400 to $3,000. Williamson is expected to visit Charles City this week to make final plans for the footing installations.

Pending City Council approval at the July 5 meeting, plans would be released in early September for contractors to review, and bids would be approved by Oct. 3, Kurtz told the council. The renovations are expected to be complete by June 2017.

A map provided to the council also denotes a potential future parking turnaround on Clark Street, City Administrator Steve Diers said. That remodeling would come at a later date.

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