Apr 23, 2024 - News

Des Moines rejects Gray's Lake marina proposals

A photo of Gray's Lake Marina.

Some sections of the current paddlecraft dock at Gray's Lake were irreparable and removed after being damaged by ice in early 2022. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

All bids for a Gray's Lake marina replacement project were recently rejected by the city of Des Moines after the lowest offer was more than $863,000 above estimates.

Why it matters: The project is needed to fully restore water recreation at one of the metro's busiest parks.

Catch up quick: Portions of the current marina were severely damaged by ice in 2022, resulting in thousands fewer users as well as less watercraft rentals in the last few seasons.

  • A project to rebuild the marina, create a new viewing deck and and improve trails was projected to begin this year and finish in 2025.

Driving the news: Only two businesses responded to DSM's recent request for competitive bids and the lowest was 45% more than the city engineer's $1.9 million estimate.

  • The City Council voted this month to explore "value engineering options."

Zoom in: The project will now be bid in two parts. The first bid, in June, will include a parking lot and trail repairs with a fall construction start.

  • The second contract could allow for more affordable materials or construction options for the dock, city engineer Steve Naber tells Axios.
  • The second contract could allow for more affordable materials or construction options for the dock, city engineer Steve Naber tells Axios.

Between the lines: Project costs are a growing concern as DSM approaches its self-imposed debt limit and navigates new laws that restrict revenue growth.

Yes, but: The Gray's Lake project is still expected to retain the same approximate timeline despite the rebidding, Naber says.

A rendering of the Gray's Lake Marina.
The new paddlecraft marina at Gray's Lake would be located closer to the park's concession stand and the Christine Hensley Terrace. Rendering: Courtesy of the city of DSM
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