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New Downtown Park a 'Great Project,' Mayor Says

© Joe Shearer

This article was written by Tim Rohwer and​ published on September 2, 2015 in The Daily Nonpareil .

It’s been said that broken windows breed crime.

“The same thing can be said with a vacant lot,” said Jaymes Sime, community outreach coordinator for Boys Town Iowa.

That’s why a proposed neighborhood park near downtown Council Bluffs in the West Bayliss neighborhood is such a good thing, according to numerous local officials. Proponents say the park would provide youth recreational and healthy activities in a neighborhood in need of more such options.

Plans call for a small soccer field with a half-basketball court nearby. Some play features, such as a sandbox and swinging tires, might be included as well. A 4-foot-high chain-linked fence would be installed around the area as a safety precaution.

“This is just one piece of the puzzle in the (redeveloped) neighborhood, but an important piece,” Sime said.

And he is certainly not alone in pushing for such a park.

The Morning Rotary Club, of which he is a member, has provided a $2,000 grant for basketball hoops and equipment. Area churches and organizations have expressed interest in helping out, he said.

“It’s a grassroots neighborhood park,” said Mayor Matt Walsh.

Once completed, activities not only could include structured games, but perhaps frequent cookouts attracting the nearby residents and others in the community.

“It could serve multiple purposes,” he said. “I think 95 percent to 99 percent of the residents there love their neighborhood and want to see it reach its full potential.”

Added Walsh: “I think it’s a great project. The park is in an area of town that have a lot of kids living in apartments that don’t have yards to play in. Kids need to get out and get fresh air.”