After hearing enough negative feedback from the public to justify heading back to the drawing board, the Dyersville City Council has approved a new conceptual design for the city square project.
City Administrator Mick Michel explained that the majority of the complaints received by city staff said the design was leaning too heavily on the baseball theme.
The original design including a baseball bandshell along with a baseball diamond-themed sidewalk pattern throughout the center of the park, but it became apparent that the public wanted more of a traditional park space to serve as its city square.
The new design includes a street-frontage shaded structure that can facilitate a farmer’s market, an active playground space, a large open space, a bandshell, a natural habitat buffer zone and wayfinding connectivity for the city’s trail system.
Councilman Tom Westhoff thought the new plan was an improvement over the previous design.
“Obviously baseball is important in this town, but I think we can probably over-do it sometimes,” Westhoff said. “I think this is a lot more appealing.”
Councilmember Jenny Ostwinkle Silva said she likes that the new design still gives a nod to baseball while also catering to the market space and Dyersville’s agricultural history.
“I think it’s a really active design that will draw in a lot of people and families,” she said. “I’m excited to see what kind of feedback we get on it.”
Mayor Jim Heavens also thought this design played more into what the people asked for — a center-of-town, neighborhood-feeling park space — opposed to the previous design that was more or less conducive to open-air concerts and markets.
The council also discussed what should be done with the smaller lot to the east of 1st Street SW that is situated between the proposed city square and the river.
The discussion included a potential future acquisition of the land and possibly eliminating that one-block stretch of 1st Street to expand the park’s borders to the North Fork of the Maquoketa River but no definitive plans were made.
Michel added that city staff is still seeking funding from outside sources to help facilitate the project.