Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission disapproves of City Park Pool modernization

The commission recommended the council not move ahead with the current proposed renovation plans to modernize the pool.


Matt Sindt

The City Park Pool is seen in Iowa City on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022.

Alejandro Rojas, News Reporter

The Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission is asking the Iowa City City Council to explore other methods to modernize the City Park Pool because of its historic value. 

The commission released a memorandum on Oct. 17 recommending that city council explores other methods to renovate the pool. City Park Pool, located on 200 Park Road, opened on June 11, 1949. 

The pool redesign includes increasing its square footage to build a “lazy river” current channel, adding more shaded space, reducing the swimming lanes from nine to three, and decreasing the size of the deep-water diving well. 

The renovations are estimated to cost over $6 million and are slated to begin in 2025. 

A petition with over 800 signatures disapproving of the pool redesign was presented to the council on Sept. 6. 

“The HPC recommends to the City Council that it explores minimal invasive ways to preserve and add accessibility to the existing pool before the City demolishes it and adds demolition waste,” the commission’s memorandum read. 

Historic Preservation Commission Chair Kevin Boyd said he didn’t think the city had explored enough options to renovate the pool. 

“The city only pursued, from the beginning, a new pool. They say the pool needs updates and repairs, and the city should pursue those updates and repairs. I think they could get that done for significantly less than the $5.5 million,” Boyd said. “They want to spend on a brand new pool, [but they] could take that money and do some updates, repairs, add some accessibility to address those needs, and have a significant amount of resources left.”

Among other concerns he has, Boyd said the historic nature of the pool is another thing to think about. He said the pool has been a part of the community for 73 years and has become a special place for residents.

Boyd said the commission first started talking about City Park Pool when the city started its review process in January. During a meeting on Sept. 8, two citizens approached the commission and asked them to weigh in on the situation. 

He added that he hopes city council takes what the commission said into consideration at the council meeting on Tuesday. 

“I hope that they review our feedback as well as others, as well as other citizens who might speak tomorrow as well,” Boyd said.

The Iowa City Council will address the proposed renovations at a meeting Tuesday.