Department Information

The Parks & Recreation Division is part of the Community Development Department, which includes a parks supervisor, recreation manager, and part time staff. The department is responsible for managing 300-acres of land, 2 community parks, 4 neighborhood parks, 5 miles of trails, as well as assortment of open spaces. This includes; management of turf, water features, prairie and native landscape, woodlands, trails, and trees. Learn more about each of these areas below.

Turf Management
Throughout the spring and summer, the Parks & Recreation Department maintains seven acres of athletic fields for Pleasant Hill Soccer Club and Pleasant Hill Little League. Annually, an estimated 122 hours are spent maintaining Pleasant Hill Little League fields and 187 hours are spent maintaining the soccer fields. The department also provides maintenance services in the parks including; painting lines, dragging fields, chemical application, weed control and making various repairs and improvements to the facilities. 

Prairie and Native Landscape
The department established and now cares for 10-acres of native plantings at Doanes Park, Copper Creek Lake Park, and the City Complex. These include a variety of stormwater quality systems such as rain gardens and bioswales, which detain and filters storm water prior to entering the stream. Throughout the year, prescribed fire applications are performed to aid in plant vigor and invasive species removal.
 Controlled Burn_Heath  Controlled Burn
 Controlled Burn Heath  Controlled Burn Rick
Water Features
Copper Creek Lake is 40-acres of water and it is maintained by the Parks & Recreation Department. The City has a 28E agreement with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which allows for sampling the fish population and pond health improvement. The DNR also provides staff to enforce fishing and boating regulations of the lake. Each year, sampling is conducted by the DNR and fish are stocked accordingly to provide a healthy balance of aquatic life.

Recently, a temporary public art installation ‘Wading Bridge’ was installed at Copper Creek Lake Park. The art was designed by New York-based artist Mary Mattingly with an interactive dock that allows you to walk over and through the water. If you stand on the dock, you may even see the aquatic life swimming in the water. For more information about the bridge, click here.

Wading Bridge

The department also manages the boat ramp and river access for the south section of the Des Moines River Water Trail located south of town on Vandalia Road. This section has been designated as a National Recreation Trail by the National Parks Service. 

Throughout the year, the department manages 88-acres of woodlands including; prescribed fires, invasive species removal, and risk tree removal along the trails. Did you know; Four Mile Creek is adjacent to Copper Creek Lake bordering the west side of Pleasant Hill? The natural landscape created by Four Mile Creek is home to an abundance of native animals and woodland plant habitats. The department encourages visitors to explore some of the natural areas by managing mowed paths and wood chipped trails through the woodlands, creeks and streams.

In Pleasant Hill, a majority of the 5 miles of trail parallels Four Mile Creek and Little Four Mile Creek, which serves as a part of the Gay Lea Wilson Trail; connecting communities and over 100 miles of trails throughout the metro area. The top priority for the city’s parks system is trail connectivity and access to the trails. The department is finalizing an updated Parks and Trails Master Plan to determine how to best meet the needs of our community.

Copper Creek Trails

In addition to the 88-acres of woodland, the department also maintains over 1,300 public trees, with over 50 different species. Trees can provide a multitude of benefits to the community, and sound management allows communities to best take advantage of these benefits.

 Doanes Park Trees

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is something the Parks & Recreation Department has been monitoring. The EAB is an invasive pest that kills ash trees and has been confirmed in a number of Iowa counties. The good thing is, on public property there are only 24 ash trees. The department has incrementally removed 3 ash trees per year since 2008. Removal is determined by several factors such as tree health, location and aesthetic value. If you have an ash tree, click here to find out more about treatment options.

EAB is only one of several other emerging threats to Iowa’s forest communities. In a 2012, Iowa Forest Health Report the DNR identified five key pests that have emerged and a severe threat to Iowa’s native woodlands and community trees. The key pests identified in addition to EAB are Gypsy Moth, Bur Oak Blight, Thousand Cankers Disease of Black Walnut and Asian Longhorned Beetle that prefers to attack maple species and in some cases birch, elm, horse chestnut, and Ohio buckeye.

City Park’s
The City has six developed parks and recently acquired a 77-acre’s of land near Fourmile Elementary School to be developed. A master planning process will take place in 2016 to determine the amenities and programs that will be offered.

Special Events
Throughout the year, the department provides organizations and citizens with facilities, logistics, and technical support with managing their events. A few of our city’s most notable events include; Springtime Hill Climb, Copper Creek Triathlon, Chill on the Hill, and Family Fun Fest. The department also partners with the Pleasant Hill Library to host annual events including; Halloween Party, Pleasant Hill Firefighter’s Association Breakfast with Santa and Easter Egg Hunt.

Recreational activities
Collaborating with outside agencies allows a variety of recreational programs for the community. We offer programs for all ages and they range from dog obedience classes to Boot camp, senior fitness, and tumbling. If there is a class you’d like to see offered, contact city hall at 515-262-9368.

Winter Duties
In between snow removal and winter tree care, the department manages the maintenance of indoor facilities and plans and executes events and programs. Fall and winter is also the department’s time to evaluate past programs, research new ideas, discuss and prioritize future plans, establish budgets and prepare for next season’s responsibilities.