Nathan Unsworth is the Administrative Parks Superintendent for the City of Newton. He actively volunteers is a wide variety of roles throughout the community, including serving on the boards for Young Professional of Jasper County, Project AWAKE, and others. He has brought many new community events to Newton including the Summer Concert Series at the Maytag Bowl and Newton Fest.

What do you think people should “get to know” about Newton?

People should get to know the small town feel of Newton. It has all the conveniences of a larger city, but you still actually know your neighbors and other community members.

Why did you choose to live in Newton?

Well, I will be honest I did not seek out Newton. I was offered a job here after college, so I guess my student loan payment chose Newton. With that said, I have grown to love Newton and see no reason to leave anytime soon. It is just a great place to live. I enjoy living here because there are great outdoor areas within 15 minutes of Newton, you can be in downtown Des Moines in 30 minutes, and you can make it up to Ames to cheer on the Cyclones in about an hour.

How is Newton preparing for the future?

Leaders have ramped up their recruiting efforts to attract more businesses which have brought several new employers to the community. They are also working on expanding and improving the housing stock to accommodate more lifestyles. Finally, they are embracing Young Professionals and encouraging them to become more involved within the community. They recognize that Newton is only going to remain attractive if young people are helping determine the community’s future.

What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?

I am really proud of all the improvements we have done within our park system over the past few years. I work closely with the Park Board to really take a hard look at our park system and set a series of goals that they would like to see accomplished over the next five to ten years. These efforts have resulted in a large amount of park investments including new playgrounds, new restrooms in several parks, a new irrigation system for Westwood Golf Course, and even a Boulder Park that is set to be installed this year. The great part is there still more projects in progress like the potential new clubhouses at Westwood Golf Course and the redevelopment of Sunset Park.

What is Newton’s best-kept secret?

Newton’s best kept secrets are the numerous outdoor recreational opportunities found in and around the community. I may be biased but I think we have outstanding city parks that allow all ages to enjoy the great outdoors. The fun doesn’t stop there though. We are also located near wonderful county parks, including Rock Creek State Park, Neil Smith Wildlife Refuge, Lake Red Rock, and now the Quarry Springs Park being developed in Colfax. No matter what activity you enjoy to do outdoors, you do not have to travel very far from Newton to do it.