Eight Year Downtown Project Finally Complete - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Eight Year Downtown Project Finally Complete

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Jessica Daley



It's been in the works for eight years, and now a massive downtown revitalization project is officially complete.

Eight major projects re-shaped the east and west banks of the Des Moines River downtown as part of the Principal Riverwalk.
The Center Street Bridge, Brenton Skating Plaza, and the Hub Spot have helped make the Principal Riverwalk an amenity to downtown.

Although the completion announcement comes on the coldest day of the year, Riverwalk officials say it's also just in time to help you keep your New Year's resolutions to get fit, stay active and spend time with your family.

"On a nice day, come down and take a walk. You might have seen some construction, and you now know you can come down and participate," says Mary O'Keefe, Senior Vice President at The Principal Financial Group, who's behind the project.

They raised about $30 million from donors and about $30 million from the City of Des Moines.

They tweaked the vision since work began in 2004 but all the initial input they got from residents made it into the final product.

"What they wanted was nature, water, family activities, wellness, and all those things are in the Riverwalk," O'Keefe says.

The 1.2 mile loop connects nearly 300 miles of trails in central Iowa. It also connects people to major attractions like Court Avenue District and the Iowa Events Center.

The last thing to go in is a café at the Hub Spot, which is set to open this spring.

"The core of the city is so important. You can't have a donut that's empty in the middle," says O'Keefe. "The core of the city has to be strong."
The Riverwalk has also helped draw new downtown housing. She says developers created hundreds of units because they believed the Riverwalk would draw people downtown.

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