May 27, 2022 - News

Ask Axios: Who cut down all those big trees in Prospect Park?

A photo of trees cut in Des Moines.
About 40 trees that were 12" or larger in diameter at Des Moines' Prospect Park were felled in March to make way for ICON project developments that are now likely to be delayed for a few years. Their stumps are being removed. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Question: "Weren't the trees that were removed recently in Prospect Park part of the ICON project? If that's being delayed three to five years, why cut them now?" — Rachel Bradley, DSM.

On Monday, we told you how organizers of the Iowa Confluence Water Trails (ICON) project are seeking permission to downsize the scope of work required under a $25 million federal grant.

  • Under the revised proposal, work to create water amenities like boat launches at Birdland and Prospect parks would be completed in later years, depending on how much money is available.

Answer: Prospect Park and at a site near Harriet and Southeast 14th streets were prepped in anticipation of the work outlined under the original scope of the grant.

  • Dozens of trees were removed in March to avoid disturbing several endangered bat species that nest in the trees during warmer months, ICON director Maggie McClelland tells Axios.
  • Officials at the time didn't anticipate a change in the project's timeline, McClelland said.

Yes, but: While the trees could have stood longer, their deaths aren't in vain.

  • The ICON improvements will still happen sometime in the future, McClelland noted.
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