University of Iowa

Webster City Parks & Recreation Plan

Boone River Canoeing
Academic Year 
Urban & Regional Planning
Project Partner 

Working in collaboration with the City of Webster City Parks & Recreation Department, graduate students in the School of Urban & Regional Planning will complete a Parks & Recreation Plan for Webster City that promotes appropriate land use, active lifestyles, equity, accessibility, environmental protection, and tourism.

For a town its size, Webster City (pop. 7,877) offers a great deal of open space and outdoor recreational opportunities.  The community’s parks and recreation system includes eight quality parks, bicycle & walking trails, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and several access points to the popular Boone River. 

The significance of the river is evident in Webster City’s tagline “Boone River Country”. Providing opportunities for hiking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, the river is one of the community’s most beloved amenities. 

However, city officials recognize the need to reimagine, update, and improve the park system in order to best serve residents and visitors, particularly as they expect to see a considerable increase in population due to a new large employer in the area.  Several new amenities have been mentioned, including whitewater kayaking on the Boone River, a splash pad in East Twin Park, new trail development and connectivity, and camping facilities (namely, rental yurts) in Kendall Young Park, and a new disc golf course.

Webster City parks serve other purposes in addition to recreation.  For example, Riverside Park has a newly constructed wetland for stormwater management, and city officials are considering housing development for Hospital Hill, large greenspace in the center of town.  Additionally, torn-down dilapidated structures downtown present new opportunities for pocket parks in the commercial district.   The planning team will consider a variety of uses for parks and open space in the context of other broad community objectives, such as downtown development, stormwater management, water quality, and housing.   Additional focus areas may include, capital investments and financing, funding sources, maintenance, design, education, ecology, marketing, policy, etc.

The planning process will include the collection and analysis of available relevant information; data analysis to determine inventory and condition of current facilities; determination of supply and demand within the community; and recommendations for meeting the needs of the community through an analysis of improved programs and facilities.  Public input will be essential to development of the plan.  The process may include interviews, focus groups, public forums, and/or a survey of residents.