As unabashed advocates for a vibrant downtown, we greet with enthusiasm news of plans for Pearl Street Park.
Announced by city leaders on Thursday, the unique, half-acre addition to downtown will be created at 620 Pearl Street, offering visitors a mixture of green space, trees, seating and tables.
A donation to the city by local business leader Regina Roth will provide $500,000 of the $517,500 cost; a grant will cover the rest.
"I do hope this will be the first of many pocket parks," Roth said in a front-page Journal story on Oct. 21. "When you think about young people coming with their families to look, where do I want to settle, they look at things like bike trails and parks and green space."
We share Roth's vision and commend her for a wonderful contribution of generosity and civic spirit in support of this key community goal - in particular, as it relates to downtown.
We have written before of our support for green space as a natural next step in the evolution of downtown. At one time, in fact, we advocated for construction of a downtown Cone Park.
As even casual observers of our Opinion page know, we believe in the importance of a thriving downtown. Again today, we praise both public and private sectors for strong commitment to the city's central core and watch, with optimism for the future, as dynamic, individual pieces of an overall strategy for a bustling downtown - a destination, if you will, for residents and visitors alike - continue falling into place.
Either completed or under way, those pieces include: The Tyson Events Center, Orpheum Theatre, movie theaters, Art Center, Public Museum, Convention Center, Historic Fourth Street and Historic Pearl Street districts, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Children's Museum, Shepherd's Garden and development of urban-living options. The multi-phase reconstruction of Interstate 29 will produce improved entrance and exit points.
Pearl Street Park adds to downtown momentum as well as to overall local quality of life.
In another boost to quality of life announced last month, the city received a $650,000 grant from the Iowa Transportation Commission for completion of the riverfront trail. When finished, sometime next year, the 12-mile trail will link Chautauqua Park to Chris Larsen Park.
Again today, we applaud the city for its focus on trails.
Throughout our metro region, we see, hear and sense appreciation for what we have with respect to trails and support for more. Local leaders understand this is a citizen priority and continue to demonstrate, in words and actions, their support for expansion of a connected trail system.