Mar 8, 2023 - News

Des Moines Gray's Lake Park is expanding

A photo of Gray's Lake Park in Des Moines.

The area to the right will become wetlands and part of a larger Gray's Lake Park expansion. Photo courtesy of the city of DSM

Gray's Lake Park recently grew its footprint by about 20%, Des Moines parks and recreation director Ben Page tells Axios.

Why it matters: The new acquisitions have expanded the park from 175 to 210 acres on undevelopable and flood-prone land the city plans to use for recreational, ecological and parking at the near-downtown park.

  • Better flood protection is among the potential benefits.

State of play: Some of the first expansion work to clear a seven-acre section between the Raccoon River and Thomas Beck Road of invasive plants and undesirable trees is underway.

  • That section will be seeded with native plants this year, Page says. A soft-surface walking trail could be added in coming years.

Zoom in: Much of the rest of the park's growth is in an area just north of Confluence Brewing at the site of a former railroad service yard.

  • That section was previously held by the city as part of a highway plan determined to be unnecessary in 2018.
  • It's envisioned to include a new park entrance off Thomas Beck Road, expanded parking and wetlands.

Yes, but: Most of the improvements are not yet budgeted and development is "many years out," Page says.

  • Recent acquisitions were made via private donations raised by the Gray's Park and Meredith Trail Advisory Committee.

👀 See more details: The city's Gray's Lake Park Improvements plan

A drawing of Gray's Lake Park in Des Moines.
Drawing: Confluence landscape architecture via the city of DSM

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