Central Park - Grinnell, Iowa - CODAworx

Central Park – Grinnell, Iowa

Client: City of Grinnell, Iowa

Location: Grinnell, IA, United States

Completion date: 2017

Project Team


The Art Studio

RDG Planning & Design


City Manager

City of Grinnell, Iowa

Landscape Architect

RDG Planning & Design


RDG Planning & Design

Lighting Designer

RDG Planning & Design

Civil Engineer

RDG Planning & Design

MEP Engineer

RDG Planning & Design

Aquatic Engineer

Water's Edge Aquatic Design

Structural Engineer

Saul Engineering


Showcasing interdisciplinary design, Grinnell’s Central Park honors the past, invigorates the present, anticipates the future. Within the 3.8-acre park project, the Art Studio designed, modeled, and fabricated over 250 terra cotta pieces inspired by Louis Sullivan’s “Jewel Box” bank located downtown. The studio also handcrafted six 36” diameter Louis Sullivan urns, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Louis Sullivan Building Foundation.


Central Park and Grinnell downtown’s shared history drove the vision for Central Park’s design. Prairie-style architecture found throughout the city, including the nearby railroad depot, echoes in the park design. The terra cotta pieces (in sizes 7 ½” x 15 ½”; 15 ½” x 15 ½”; and 24” x 24”) celebrate the style and intricate details of Louis Sullivan’s terra cotta work, melding with historic architecture in downtown Grinnell while offering a modern perspective.


RDG Planning & Design’s landscape architects led an interdisciplinary design team of artists, architects, engineers, lighting designers, fountain specialists and others to complete all phases of work, including inventory and analysis of the site and its history, master plan development and comprehensive design services. In addition, the project team guided the fundraising effort to bring the dream to life.

Additional Information

The renovated park provides a meaningful and popular community treasure for gatherings, concerts, events, and festivals not previously available to citizens. Park facility rental revenues have increased by over 400 percent, and the number of programmed events occurring at the park have increased by over 700 percent.