Posts Tagged ‘Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation’

September 13, 2016

Water Works Park Plans and Progress

In 1925, the Board of Water Works Trustees purchased 334 acres of land south of the Raccoon River, west of S.W. 30th Street. General Manager Charles Denman stated that the newly acquired land would insure a potential water supply large enough for a city twice the size of Des Moines. Gradually, additional land (now known as Water Works Park) bordering the Raccoon River on both sides, extending to 63rd Street was purchased to protect the source water. In April of 1933, Water Works Park was opened to the public. At that time, the water supply grounds covered 1,400 acres. Today, Water Works Park now spans 1,500 acres.

In 2013, the Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation was formed and charged with implementing the master plan for Water Works Park. The Park Foundation recently announced it has gone over the $5 million mark in pledges for the planned $9 million first phase of Water Works Park improvements.

It should be noted that the funds being raised to implement the master plan by the Foundation are from private sources and do not come from Des Moines Water Works ratepayers.

RDg_Waterworks_7 - skylineThe focus of the first phase is to create a destination platform for individuals’ and groups’ daily use and self-programming. The Park Foundation hopes to enhance Water Works Park users’ experience by developing a two-way amphitheater, the great lawn, a celebration lawn, natural play areas, and a series of pathways that lead to different experiences in and around the existing Arie den Boer Arboretum. The new elements are being designed to be both flood resilient and located on the highest ground in the park, which historically only floods during 100 year flood events.

The goal of the master plan is to introduce visitors to Water Works Park’s many assets through better wayfinding; support systems such as parking, bathrooms and food trucks; and safe connections to neighboring Gray’s Lake Park and the many regional trail systems. This will make Water Works Park more accessible for users across all spectrums of age, ability and interest – all while telling the history and importance of water in the greater Des Moines metro area.

“This plan offers something for everyone,” said Randy Reichardt, President of the Park Foundation Board. “It’s free, accessible and in the middle of the city. The project brings to life an under-utilized resource that will help elevate the quality of life for anyone who comes in contact with this amazing park.”

The Park Foundation believes that by enhancing the connectivity of this urban green space to the rest of the city, it encourages
activity and experiences for recreation and health, education and conservation, which serve as the guiding principles for the Park Foundation. Its proximity to Gray’s Lake, downtown Des Moines, and several neighborhoods expands usable urban green space for area workers and the growing number of downtown area residents, alleviating the overcrowding of adjoining 170-acre Gray’s Lake Park.

Water Works Park is owned and operated by Des Moines Water Works, and at 1,500 acres, it is one of the largest urban park in the country and about twice the size of New York City’s Central Park. The Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation is a separate entity, a Private Non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, charged with implementing the Water Works Park master plan through phasing, fundraising and enhanced programming to encourage more purposeful interaction with Water Works Park and the story of clean water.

For more information, visit Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation’s website: or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , Posted in Parks May 19, 2015

LAUNCH Your Summer at Water Works Park

LAUNCH_logo_CMYKThe public is invited to LAUNCH, a new, annual and FREE event aimed at drawing new and current users into Water Works Park to explore its many recreational opportunities. Join us at Water Works Park on Saturday, May 30, from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. for multiple activities that engage you in the park, including canoeing, an art installation on the river, music, food trucks and craft beer, bike trail expeditions, soccer clinics, hiking, bike valet and much more.

The event launches two major regional efforts celebrating our rivers: the launch of a regional water trails plan and the implementation of the Water Works Park Master Plan.

The event features a riverside unveiling of a new, temporary public art installation by New York-based artist Mary Mattingly that calls attention to the joy of reconnecting to our waterways. The featured speaker will be Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp at 1:00 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Scheels, MidAmerican Energy, and Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation. The public art work is sponsored by Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, the Iowa Arts Council and the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Visit for more details.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Parks