A city park in southwest Iowa is being named to the list of the Top Ten Great Public Spaces for 2014 by the American Planning Association. Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs is being set aside as one of the best spots in the nation for everything from a game of Frisbee to getting married. Geoff Hubbard, the recreation superintendent for Council Bluffs, says it’s a spectacular honor.
“We’ve done a lot of improvements to the park over the last couple of years,” Hubbard says. “The fountain and the splash pad area around there get used all summer long. It’s the hot spot for downtown Council Bluffs. We show a free movie every Friday during the summertime and a free concert every Wednesday. It’s definitely our Central Park in Council Bluffs.”
Bayliss Park is very versatile, according to Hubbard, as it can serve residents in a multitude of ways. “It’s a place where you can come and hang out and have a picnic, we have a lot of weddings there, it’s a very scenic backdrop for different special events,” Hubbard says. “It’s just one of those parks that gets a lot of use no matter what people are wanting to use it for, just hanging out and relaxing or having a big, big event.”
Council Bluffs is in good company, as the rest of the country’s Top Ten Great Public Spaces are: the Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island; Delaware Park in Buffalo, New York; Lake Mirror Park in Lakeland, California; Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon; Point State Park in Pittsburgh; Rainier Vista in Seattle; Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia; The Lawn at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia; and the 131-mile-long Lincoln Trails Network in Lincoln, Nebraska.