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South DSM News

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Central Iowa water trails project becoming reality with $17 million in private funding

Real Estate

By Kimberly James | Jan 27, 2020

Tiffany Tauscheck | Facebook

Fundraising for the Central Iowa water trails project is off to a record start, with more than $17 million already being contributed through private fundraising, getting the project more than halfway to the private fundraising goal of $33.5 million. 

In November, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the project a $25 million grant, starting construction if backers could gather the funds for a local match. The first phase of the $117 million project costs $32.25 million.

The Business Record reported that $3 million of the $17 million raised is from Des Moines-based Principal Financial Group. There is also 100 percent individual financial commitment from the Central Iowa Water Trails Incubator board.

“The Central Iowa water trails project will have a profound impact on not just Central Iowa, but the entire state of Iowa,” Dan Houston, chair of the Central Iowa Water Trails Incubator board of directors; and chair, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group, said. “When you look at what sets our state and region apart, it’s our collaboration, people coming together to make big projects happen.” 

Tiffany Tauscheck, corporate funding strategy lead for Central Iowa Water Trails and chief strategy officer for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, said, "It’s an investment that helps position our region to compete at a whole new level, continue to cultivate a diverse workforce, attract major events and create buzz that helps further economic development.”

The first of 86 sites along the 155 miles of Iowa waterway was completed in Johnston. 

The $25 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant pays 80 percent of the construction cost to replace the Scott Street dam with a whitewater course. It will also help create better access to the Des Moines River at Prospect Park, Birdland Park and Harriett Street.

It is estimated that removal of three low-head dams will bring an economic boost of $26 to $32 million by year five, the whitewater course drawing in paddlers and onlookers.

“I have been involved in our community for more than four decades, I have witnessed firsthand several remarkable projects. The Central Iowa water trails initiative stands out far above anything with which I have been privileged to work. It will be transformational and future generations will be thankful that we had the vision to undertake something of this magnitude. I am honored to serve as one of the co-chairs of the campaign," Suku Radia said.  

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