Des Moines receives federal grant to create trail in underserved neighborhoods

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Parks and Recreation was recently awarded half a million dollars from the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership grant, a federal program aimed at addressing inequitable access to parks and green space in underserved neighborhoods. 

Des Moines will use the money to build a multi-use trail along the west side of the Des Moines River. Des Moines Parks and Recreation said it’s happy to use this grant to connect communities with an outdoor experience. 

“The grant is designed to help fund the Central Place Levee Trail which will connect a variety of neighborhoods and prior to really necessary trail connection for transportation for recreation and the trails are beloved. So this is a really cool project,” Marketing Supervisor for Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department, Jen Fletcher said. 

The Levee trail will go from downtown’s Riverwalk Park, near the Women of Achievement Bridge, north to the Second Avenue bridge and eventually will extend along the west bank of the Des Moines River to Euclid Avenue.

This Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership grant is an extension of President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative to protect 30 percent of land and water in the US by 2030.

Sierra Club, is an environmental organization with an Iowa Chapter here in Des Moines. A campaign representative for Sierra Club, Jayni Rasmussen, said this future trail will not only unite communities but have a positive health impact on families who live in the area. 

“Children who are able to have regular outdoor access are usually physically healthier. They also have better mental health outcomes like they pay attention better in school. They’re less aggressive, they are more social because they’re getting out and engaging with the community,” Rasmussen said. 

Construction for the Central Place Levee Trail is expected to start next year. 

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