Nov 16, 2023 - News

MidAmerican Energy to build 9-acre downtown park

A rendering of Two Rivers Park.

A river overlook is among the key features proposed for the upcoming Two Rivers Park. Rendering: bnim/MidAmerican Energy Company via Polk County Conservation

Downtown is getting a new park with construction expected to start in coming months, Polk County Conservation spokesperson Jessica Lown tells Axios.

Why it matters: Two Rivers Park will be adjacent to the Market District, a 10-block industrial area near the East Village that's being redeveloped into an urban neighborhood.

  • The area's development could exceed $1 billion and nearby amenities like parks could enhance its future.

Plus, it's being constructed without taxpayer contributions.

  • MidAmerican Energy Company owns the nine-acre site and is paying for its development but did not answer Axios' question Wednesday about the park's cost.

Details: The site is near the confluence of the DSM and Raccoon rivers, near Principal Park.

  • It's the former location of MidAmerican's Two Rivers Service Center, which was razed in 2019 after the company moved some of its operations.

Driving the news: MidAmerican presented preliminary park plans to the Polk County Conservation Board last week.

  • A river overlook, event lawn, restrooms and a parking lot were included in the plans.
  • Designers continue working with county conservation officials to include things like native grasses, rain gardens and trees, Lown says.

Zoom in: MidAmerican will continue to own the land but the park's ongoing maintenance and care will be managed by Polk County.

  • Operations will cost about $300,000 a year, which Polk County and the city will split, Conservation Board director Rich Leopold said in last week's meeting.

What they're saying: The park is envisioned to be a landmark, MidAmerican spokesperson Tina Hoffman tells Axios.

  • "Yes, it's a great thing for the Market District but it's also a great thing for DSM," Tim Rypma, a developer who is working on the district project, tells Axios.

What next: Final design phases will be completed in coming months.

  • Some parts of the park could be open by late next year, Lown says.

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