Des Moines to negotiate with Water Works Park Foundation for $1.6M in unpaid construction

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines city officials will begin negotiating with a local infrastructure group for $1.6 million in unpaid costs for the construction of an underpass connecting two parks.

The Des Moines Register reports that the city council approved a request to begin negotiating with the Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation.

At issue is an underpass known as the Ruan Connector, which provides a path under Fleur Drive that connects Gray’s Lake Park and Water Works Park. It was completed in September 2020 with money from a public-private partnership in which the city fronted $3.1 million.

The foundation has paid back $1.4 million so far but recently notified the city that it didn’t have enough money to pay back its remaining balance of $1.6 million. Sam Carrell, the foundation’s former executive director, says the nonprofit intended to pay back the money but fell on hard times during the pandemic.

City council members praise the underpass as something widely enjoyed by residents, but question whether or not the city should forgive a portion of what’s owed.

The city has not yet committed to an amount it would be willing to forgive, but city documents show that it could be as much as $540,000.

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