Parks and Recreation

Bandshell  |  Hills, IA

Westown Meadows Park  |  Waukee, IA

The City of Waukee requested a master plan for a 4.91-acre park known as Westown Meadow, which is situated on the northeast corner of SE Tallgrass Lane and SE Willowbrook Drive. Once the plan was implemented, the park boasts trail connections, shelter, restroom, playground, parking, and an aquatic component to serve the surrounding neighborhood.

Sheridan Meadows Park Pickleball Courts  |  Eldridge, IA

The City of Eldridge wanted to enhance the free recreational opportunities available for city residents and visitors. Sheridan Meadows Park in Eldridge already served as a hub of outdoor recreation in Eldridge, with baseball, softball, and soccer fields, sand volleyball, a playground, outdoor exercise equipment area, and a paved shared-use trail, and an underutilized corner of the park was the perfect spot for dedicated pickleball courts. The city elected to add pickleball courts, due to it being a fast-growing sport for all ages that is played like tennis on a smaller court.

Six new asphalt pickleball courts, complete with colored surfacing and perimeter fence with windscreen, were constructed adjacent to the existing shared-use trail and parking area at the northwest corner of the park. The new pickleball courts are available for residents and visitors to enjoy and a local pickleball club has already adopted the courts as a favored playing location, scheduling daily “group play” times that bring visitors into town to see all that Eldridge has to offer.

Central Park Expansion  |  Valparaiso, In

As Valparaiso Central Park and the Porter Health Amphitheater have become a popular destination in Valparaiso, the City of Valparaiso sought to keep enthusiasm levels high, and create more downtown space for citizens to use and appreciate. The goal was to expand Central Park by creating a dedicated area for families to enjoy year-round, offering four-season activity and recreation.

Shive-Hattery worked with the City to plan the expansion and make improvements to the existing park environment. A feasibility study was conducted, including the development of a site master plan and building concepts, along with 3D renderings that were shared with the community and potential benefactors. The result was a Central Park expansion anchored by a 135-foot-long by 85-foot-wide pavilion designed for activities in all four seasons: ice skating, farmers’ markets, festivals, concerts, exhibitions, and civic gatherings. The Pavilion was designed with a refrigerated floor for ice-making, allowing skating all winter, even on above-freezing days.

Lafayette Street, which bisects the park expansion, became Lafayette Plaza, with the addition of pedestrian amenities such as attractive landscaping, ample seating, lighting, information kiosks, water features, and a dining plaza with umbrella tables.

On the west side of the Pavilion, the Indiana Beverage Activity Center building features a large window wall so users can watch Pavilion activities. The Center serves multiple purposes, offering skate rental, restrooms, public seating spaces with food service, meeting room, as well as space for storage and ice-making equipment. A plaza west of the building provides an outdoor respite space and serves as a gateway to Central Park Plaza from the street.

Serving as a standalone space while complementing Central Park, the expansion was planned with similar materials as the existing Amphitheater, including clay masonry and stone. Arched forms continue the architectural vocabulary. New signage and identity features designed by Shive-Hattery provide wayfinding and seasonal information and recognize donors which made the project possible.

Located in the heart of downtown Valparaiso, and connected to the urban fabric, the City of Valparaiso Central Park expansion has transformed this half city block into an extremely popular year-round, family-oriented space for residents and visitors to enjoy for generations.


  • 2018 Design-Built Honor Award, American Society of Landscape Architects - Iowa Chapter 

  • 2016 Public Works Project of the Year, Construction Advancement Foundation 

  • 2016 Best Public Spaces in America Award, American Planning Association


Closed as an active landfill in 2013, the Mount Trashmore facility was reborn as a recreational destination in the fall of 2018, complete with hiking/biking trails and a scenic overlook. Due to the nature of the site, constant monitoring is necessary and visitors need to check-in and out with Linn County Solid Waste Agency staff, who currently work out of a tent. Due to this arrangement, the site can only be open a few days a week. The largest composting site in the Midwest operates near the site and utilizes the same entrance road. With many visitors biking to Mount Trashmore, this creates safety concerns. The Solid Waste Agency needed a way to separate pedestrians from the large truck traffic.

Shive-Hattery was tasked with improving safety at the entrance to Mount Trashmore and creating a permanent structure for Solid Waste Agency staff. Remodeling a vacant recycling center on the site will have twofold benefits – Shive-Hattery was able to give the agency 5,000 square feet of building space and also tie into their mission of sustainability. The remodeled building, which will be called the ‘948’ Building – named after the elevation of Mount Trashmore – will have an office for staff to handle check-ins and view Mount Trashmore; restrooms; and a meeting room with kitchenette that can be used by other Cedar Rapids groups. Large garage doors will be kept open for visitors to walk bikes through to check in when the site is open.

A new asphalt parking lot adjacent to the ‘948’ Building will have 26 spaces, much more than is currently available as people park on the side of the road. A scale currently on the site will be moved to the compost facility and the area converted to greenspace, creating a park-like atmosphere with a trail around the existing pond leading to the Mount Trashmore trails.

Safety for pedestrians coming to the recreational facility will be greatly improved, with a bike trail separated from the road by green space and protected by a split rail fence. Pedestrians will also have a crosswalk to the parking lot at a stop-controlled intersection.

This $1.8 million project will complete the Mount Trashmore Recreational Facility destination. The ‘948’ Building will satisfy many of the Solid Waste Agency’s needs: provide an organized check-in and check-out area; allow the site to be open for more hours and months of the year; and provide space for meetings. More parking spaces will allow more people to use the facility. Pedestrian safety will increase greatly with the separate entrances, and considerations were made for the trail to possibly be tied into the future Smokestack Bridge.