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Riverfront Renovations Match Parkade Aesthetic

While the Main Street Parkade renovations in recent years have been taking center stage in Cedar Falls, the upgrades to nearby Peter Melendy Park and the surrounding riverfront area have substantially impacted the downtown. As the lead design firm for the Parkade improvements, our team was also tasked with upgrading and improving the aesthetics of these adjacent community areas.

Peter Melendy Park sits between the Main Street Parkade, 1st Street, and the Cedar River on a one-acre, triangle-shaped parcel of land. The park provides direct access to the Riverside Trail and the Cedar Valley Lakes Trail on the other side of the river and is home to the “Gateway to the Trails” sculpture. The city had recently completed a floodwall and levee improvement project along the riverbank in Peter Melendy Park, and with these recent infrastructure improvements in place, city and community leaders further desired to enhance the park and river area for residents and visitors.

Peter Melendy Renovation Efforts Drive Riverfront Upgrades

Our team provided a conceptual master plan and final design that guided renovations at Peter Melendy Park. Our plans incorporated many of the same streetscape features planned or used along the nearby Cedar Falls Main Street Parkade project. These renovations included removing nearly 500 square yards of concrete sidewalks and replacing them with a colorful assortment of brick pavers to mimic the Parkade sidewalks. The permeable paver design will also help the location with stormwater drainage.

Using clay pavers will significantly increase the longevity and durability of the project.

For this project, clay pavers made of natural materials were chosen even though the initial material cost was more than the alternative concrete pavers. The clay pavers have a consistent color throughout and do not fade over time. They resist many environmental factors and have a higher compressive strength than concrete. Pavers with chamfered edges were also specified to allow for minor variations in surface elevation. This reduces tripping hazards, helps maintain ADA compliance, and makes snow removal easier.

The extensive master plan included numerous new tree plantings and sodding, hardscape amenities, new park wayfinding signage, permanent benches, and convenient bike racks.

River Place Plaza Sidewalk Connection

Around the bend from Peter Melendy Park, the River Place Plaza was a private, yet related, project that helped revitalize and redevelop an adjacent portion of the downtown and the River Place neighborhood. Our team worked with the city and other groups to provide a connection to their river walk system, the downtown businesses, and new development features. We strove to tie the traditional and contemporary blend of hardscape and streetscape components into the East 2nd Street area, from Main to State Street. The project updates included the replacement of all sidewalks with pavers and ADA upgrades. Not only are the pedestrian travel paths no longer concrete, but the detectable warnings also utilize clay pavers.

The Peter Melendy Park and the surrounding riverfront area in Cedar Falls have undergone substantial upgrades to enhance the downtown area’s aesthetic appeal. As the lead design firm for the Parkade renovations, our team also upgraded Peter Melendy Park with brick pavers, new trees and sodding, hardscape amenities, park wayfinding signage, permanent benches, and bike racks. The River Place Plaza project also received upgrades, including replacing all sidewalks with pavers and ADA upgrades. Clay pavers were chosen for both projects due to their consistent color, environmental resistance, and higher compressive strength than concrete. These renovations provide a revitalized and connected space for residents and visitors.