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Waverly council hears plans for new South Riverside Park

South Riverside Park rendering, Waverly

A rendering of the proposed South Riverside Park, located along the Cedar River at First Street Southwest in Waverly, as drawn by AHTS Architects of Waterloo.

WAVERLY — Plans for a new community space, farmers market, splash pad and river access were unveiled last week.

AHTS Architects of Waterloo presented the design for South Riverside Park, which would be located south of the Waverly Fire Department station along the Cedar River at First Street Southwest.

Larry Kurtz, a landscape architect with AHTS, put the estimated total price tag for the park at $1,174,120. He said the existing farmers’ market would benefit from such a space.

“They don’t have any amenities, low visibility and traffic and their location is not engaging,” Kurtz told the Waverly City Council at its Nov. 20 meeting.

Kurtz said he would want to know if the farmers market would adapt to that location before advising the council to begin construction, noting the “if you build it, they will come” mantra wasn’t always accurate.

“We would schedule farmers market events and, if we have success, begin building,” he said.

If constructed as designed, phase one would include removing the deteriorating Produce Building and renovating the Exchange/Scale Building to provide restroom access.

“The Exchange Building is in better condition of the two,” said Andrew Bell, an architect with AHTS. “The Produce Building we are recommending to remove and keep the foundations.”

Phase one also would include taking inventory of the existing trees and removing some, as well as improving river access along that stretch.

“There’s a lot of garbage and debris, thick foliage, but it has a good, rocky bottom,” Kurtz said.

Phase two would include improving the bike trail that runs along the river at that location and adding a “themed plaza” where events like the farmers market could take place.

Phase three of the project would add a large, open-air park shelter and a splash pad.

As the South Riverside Park plans were simply a presentation, the City Council took no action on it and there is no timeline for construction yet. But Ward 3 council member Wes Gade said he liked what he heard.

“Restoring the old Exchange Building would be a great idea,” Gade said.

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