Category: City of Des Moines

A Year After Disastrous Flash Flooding, City Makes Progress on Four Mile Creek Plan

DES MOINES, Iowa – There is still much work needed to be done one year after the Des Moines metro saw massive flash flooding but progress is being made in the Four Mile Creek neighborhood.

According to the city of Des Moines there were around 1,900 reports of homes that were impacted at damaged due to the major flash flooding overnight on June 30, 2018.

City of Des Moines Engineer Steven Naber said of those 1,900 reports there were around 375 homes that reported damage in the Four Mile Creek neighborhood.

“Since the June 2018 event, the city has spent about $10.6 million acquiring about 78 properties citywide. About 49 of those properties were right here in the Four Mile Creek watershed,” Naber said.

All 78 homes that were acquired by the city have since been removed.

Naber said there is a master plan that Polk County Conservation is helping redesign the area in the next coming years.

“The Four Mile Creek watershed master plan, as well as the lower four miles greenways plan, have determined that acquisition of properties in this area, in the flood plain, is the best solution to mitigate flooding and provide the safest alternative to residents,” Naber said.

Polk County Conservation Deputy Director Doug Romig said it could take five to seven years to transform the area into its natural habitat.

“We will be restoring it back to its natural state. We will have wetlands, woodlands and prairie restoration along with stream improvements and water access as part of the water trail program. It will become a natural greenway throughout this part of Des Moines,” Romig said.

Romig said there will never be properties on the land again, and it will be deemed a permanent greenway.

In the past year, the city of Des Moines has done some work to the stream near Sargent Park.

“We are doing stream bank stabilization. We have reduced the sluffing and the sentiment that is entering Four Mile Creek from flooding events. We are creating a normal channel and we are trying to slow down that water and capture it in different ways,” Romig said.

The city of Des Moines is currently in the process of creating a plan for the existing infrastructure that remains including the streets and utilities.

Summer City Hoops is Back with Permanent Lights

DES MOINES, Iowa – Summer City Hoops tips off its season this summer with the addition of permanent lights to its basketball courts.

The program brings youths and adults together in the community in a positive way.

City of Des Moines Police Officer Stephanie Swartz said the community wasn’t too excited when they first heard of the program last year.

“Anytime you have a change I think the neighborhood was a little concerned we would have people in the park later and that might present issues. To my knowledge, we haven’t had any issues. People have been very respectful of when the lights go off it is time to go home,” Swartz said.

The program is offered at both Martin Luther King Jr. and Evelyn K. Davis Park.

Each Thursday night people can watch teams of four play basketball, enjoy food, and get to know their neighbors.

Urban Dreams Executive Director Izaah Knox said, “We want this to be a real lively, positive park in the community where people can come out and enjoy themselves until 11 o’clock at night at least.”

There are more than 200 people who come out to the Summer City Hoops program each week.

Swartz said having the program allows law enforcement to get to know the community as well.

“Since last summer multiple times I have been on other trips or at other events or at other school visits and I’ve had kids flag me down and say ‘hey I remember you from that basketball thing at the park.’ Or, ‘weren’t you down at the park with us?’ It gives them an opportunity to feel like there is some ownership with us. They know us and they have that relationship and connection,” Swartz said.

Teams can sign up beginning at 6:00 p.m. There will be a ceremony for the new permanent lights at 7:00 p.m. Games can last until 10:00 p.m.

In 10 weeks there will be a championship game. The program asks teams who are interested in playing in the championships to come the last two weeks with the same team members to qualify.

Project partners include Invest Health Des Moines, AMOS, Urban Dreams, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, and Wells Fargo.

SW 1st Street Trail Bridge Closes for Rehabilitation Project

DES MOINES, Iowa – The city of Des Moines is closing a downtown trail bridge to begin a rehabilitation project Monday.

The SW 1st Street Multi-use Trail Bridge is a popular path for cyclists and pedestrians who use the Meredith Trail.

Des Moines City Engineer Steven Naber said the bridge was once used for vehicle traffic, but was re-adapted in 2006 for pedestrian use.

“The SW 1st street multi-use trail bridge was originally constructed in 1937 as a vehicle bridge. It’s actually known as River Side Drive. The last repairs that were done on it were in 1974,” Naber said.

The bridge will undergo repairs to its joints, deck, arches, substructures, new concrete and more.

Mullets employee Elizabeth Kirkman said this is the first she is hearing of the bridge closure and it will impact business.

“Just because not everyone will know right away. It is also hard to post every single day and let people know ‘hey we are still open.’ Just because we get so busy during the summer, but we will try our best to let everyone know that we are open and go through the biking community. Hopefully everyone spread the word,” Kirkman said.

The bridge work is funded in part by the Federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant. The grant is also funding the Locust Street bridge replacement and Court Avenue rehabilitation.

“The bridge is a critical connection in the trail system. A trail system that serves over 300,000 users each year. We are posting a detour for the Meredith Trail that we use the Fifth Street bridge,” Naber said.

A detour route is in place for people who use the Meredith Trail. The city asks people to use the 5th Street Bridge for the time-being.

The SW 1st Street Bridge is anticipated to open in December 2019.