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Building North Liberty’s Next Stage

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When it was named, Centennial Park was little more than a 40-acre grass lawn, an 83-stall parking strip and a vision for a vibrant community destination in the heart of Eastern Iowa.

A decade later, North Liberty is ready for its next stage, and it’s time to make the vision a reality.

Over the past decade, we’ve hosted Blues & BBQ, giant-kite festivals, circus acts and other performances and community events. That experience has laid the foundation for the final phase  — Centennial Park Next Stage — which will bring community amenities including a premier 5,000-square-foot splash pad; expanded and accessible play structures for kids of all ages and abilities; an indoor gathering and event space; an open-air pavilion; expansive plaza spaces and pathways to connect amenities and offer physical accessibility; an honor garden recognizing the service men and women from our community; and restrooms, shelters and additional parking.

Watch a presentation about the project

The park will be completed in four phases.

Phase 1: The Centennial Center and stage, necessary utilities, exterior restrooms and expanded plaza space, is in design with an expected opening of summer 2025 at a cost of $8.8 million.
Phase 2: Splash pad and expanded playground with wheelchair-accessible playground units, plus a picnic shelter with additional restrooms, shade structures and expanded parking. The phase could be open by summer 2026, or earlier with additional financial support at a cost of $3.1 million.
Phase 3: A year-round pavilion and an expansive plaza space at a cost of $3.5 million.
Phase 4: An honor garden and additional parking at a cost of $950,000.

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Building North Liberty’s Next Stage

Shared outdoor spaces are important to our community and our residents, serving as destinations for festivals and fun, critical connections and to improve the quality of life. For a decade, we’ve experimented, executed and refined attractive programs in North Liberty and in Centennial Park, turning that 40 acres of grass into an attraction for our the community and point of pride in the region. Now we bring that experience to bear on this opportunity: a showstopping gathering place in the heart of Eastern Iowa’s rapidly growing community.

When Next Stage is complete, Centennial Park will be perfect for RAGBRAI overnights, premier concerts, weddings and family reunions, business gatherings and focused conferences in the Centennial Center, outdoor movies on the great lawn and a farmers’ market and ice-skating rink under the pavilion. The completed infrastructure makes year-round programming possible, empowers more people to physically access the amenities and programs, and allows for expanded partnerships. Think Iowa City conservatively estimates this project will inject more than $11.5 million of economic activity into our community each year.

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The Centennial Center

The 13,000-square-foot event center and outdoor stage is the heart of Centennial Park.

The interior of the facility is designed to accommodate 300-person events and would support public and private events throughout the year, hosting small indoor concerts, panel discussions and workshops, markets and craft fairs, active events in winter and more.

Private opportunities include would include weddings, family reunions and other celebrations as well as business gatherings and focused conferences.

Centennial Center Stage

A high, arched roof over a 2,700-square-foot stage anchors the south end of the Centennial Center, facing the great lawn. The stage’s central location ensures it will be part of any event at the park, including free and ticketed concerts with audiences from 500 to 5,000 on approximately a dozen dates in the spring, summer and fall seasons.

And local, regional and international bands won’t be the only performers to grace the stage. School districts and dance studios will be invited to host their concerts and recitals on the community stage, and City recreation programs will bring movies projected from the lawn, circus performances and more.

Premier Splash Pad

Located at the northeast portion of Centennial Park, the 5,000-square-foot splash pad will provide a play space for children, with colored LED lighting for extended play.

The space, which adds to the three existing playgrounds at Centennial Park, also includes a sun shade, seating, restroom and picnic shelter for parties or just a home base for families at the park.

A rendering of the future Centennial Park pavilion with the Centennial Center in the background.

Open-Air Pavilion

A short walk from the event center is a 5,000-square-foot open-air pavilion, a versatile space designed to host a variety of programming including farmers’ markets, special events and celebrations. The pavilion will also be the new home to North Liberty’s outdoor seasonal ice skating rink. The high, arched roof will accommodate aerial performances and sporting events, such as 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, or offer respite on a warm summer day.

Honor Garden

The honor garden located at the northwest portion of Centennial Park near the pond will be a space for visitors to recognize and reflect on local veterans and fallen service members. The tranquil space can also host tasteful ceremonies, small events, art displays and remembrances. A flagpole sits at the center of the colorful garden.

Centennial Park: Next Stage

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Thank you for your thoughtful consideration to support Building North Liberty’s Next Stage campaig. Browse donor levels to select the best philanthropic opportunity for you, your estate or business.

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The completion of Centennial Park will be funded with local public funds, ARPA funding, grants and private support.

We’re pleased to partner with the Community Foundation of Johnson County on our Next Stage campaign. A non-endowed, designated charitable giving fund has been established to accept grants and donated gifts for the improvements.

If you want to learn more, have a question, want to more involved or just want to connect, we’d love to. Email us at [email protected].

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