This is the design plan for the Wapello North Park renovation, courtesy of Wapello Hometown Pride.

Some towns in Iowa may be seen as just “bedroom communities”, from which people leave to travel for work, entertainment, and so on.

The City of Wapello strives to be seen as a welcoming livable community for families, with their project of improving North Park. The City of Wapello has a plan to renovate the park which costs $2-3 million. Wapello recently received a grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation of $5,000 for this project, as Mayor Shawn Maine describes, “It was applied for by Wapello Hometown Pride, an organization that has come together to make Wapello better. The City of Wapello has a master plan for the north end park which is what we call our fairgrounds. It used to have an old horse racetrack that ran around there, of course that’s long been gone. It was a lot of wasted space, baseball fields were kind of haphazardly put in. Things just kind of added and dotted in that park over the years and decades as the town has grown and there was really no rhyme or reason why they were put there it’s just ‘Oh that’s a good spot, it’s open, let’s do that.’”

Maine explains how this new project began, “Back up about, I’m going to say six or eight years the mayor before me decided that they wanted to do a master plan and look at the whole property as a parcel, and how can we make all these things fit and make it look pleasing to our community and everyone can use it, and make the space usable. It’s quite a map, it kind of repositions our ball fields into a clover leaf. It’s got a horse arena that’s covered for the local FFA rodeo, a nice walking trail that goes around the entire perimeter of the park and camping spaces.”

Maine says the Wapello Hometown Pride organization has taken the mission to make these plans a reality. Maine says the multimillion dollar scale of this project for a town the size of Wapello may almost be insurmountable, but the Riverboat Foundation grant is just the first piece of the puzzle as they search for different ways of funding the park.