City Park amusement rides to close for good at end of season - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City Park amusement rides to close for good at end of season

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The Iowa City Parks and Recreation department announced on Monday that this will be the last year of operation for the City Park amusement rides.

The rides opened in 1952.  The rides were owned and operated by the Drollinger family until they sold them to the city in 1999. The city has continued to run the park over the years, but says the rides are aging. 

On September 23, the rides will close for good, Parks and Recreation Director, Juli Seydell Johnson, said. She said in its place will be a new adventure playground, set to be constructed in late spring to early summer of next year.

"The park rides are very nostalgic. This has been an important part of our history. People love the rides. It's been a tough decision for us but, honestly, we think a new adventure play area will serve the community better. The rides themselves have become old. They're difficult to find pieces for replacement. We spend as much time repairing as actually having the rides run, it feels like a lot of weeks," Seydell Johnson said.

The city is encouraging people to make one last memory with the rides. Starting in August, through the rest of its season, the city will offer free rides.

The City Park amusement rides are currently open 1 to 7 p.m. through August 19. After August 20, rides will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. on weekends only, through Sunday, September 23.

Seydell Johnson said the biggest question people had was about the future of the rides themselves. She said the city would likely bid them out for people to buy. An announcement will be made later with more details.

Plans for the new playground are still in its infancy. Seydell Johnson said, most importantly, it will be ADA-compliant and is expected to be the biggest playground in the city. She said the city is in the process of hiring a consultant for it, and public input meetings will take place at a later time.

"It's going to be something big, something unique and different," she said. "The only thing I can guarantee is that it's going to be a lot of fun, and it's going to be something amazing."

The area where the amusement rides are located tends to flood, according to Seydell Johnson. She said the playground will be up on higher ground.

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