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Iowa City 1952 rides to be replaced by new playground

July 4, 2018

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A merry-go-round, train and other amusement rides that for 60 years have been part of childhood in Iowa City are to close, according to Iowa City Parks and Recreation

The department said Monday it will offer free rides on weekends in August and September ahead of the Sept. 23 closure, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported .

Director of Parks and Recreation Juli Seydell Johnson said the rides are closing because they need repairs and don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. She said upgrading the rides would be “quite expensive.”

“The park maintenance staff has done wonders with those rides, but it is taking a higher percentage of time to fix them than our other priorities,” Seydell Johnson said.

The department said the rides will be replaced by a large “adventure playground” that’s scheduled to begin construction in 2019.

“Change is hard, but it’s time to rejuvenate that part of Lower City Park,” Seydell Johnson said. “We know those rides have a special place in people’s hearts, but it has become so difficult to maintain them.”

The rides opened in 1952 and were sold to the city for $85,000 in 1999. They’ll be auctioned online, Seydell Johnson said.

Guy Drollinger, who sold the rides to the city, said he was saddened by the news.

“I hadn’t heard they were closing it until today,” he said. “I don’t know, though. It’s from another era, and I can totally understand why they would close it. The city had a pretty nice run, if you think about them running it for almost 20 years.”

Seydell Johson said the public can provide input on what should be included at the new playground during meetings this summer and fall.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/

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