DES MOINES, Iowa — Younkers’ flagship department store burned to the ground in 2014, and the corner of 7th and Walnut has been empty ever since. EMC Insurance has been constructing a park in its place, and now believes it will open in time for summer.
In an e-mail to WHO 13, EMC Insurance communications specialist Sarah Buckley said the unnamed park will likely open in late May or early June, and the stretch of Walnut Avenue in front of the site will reopen when the park is complete.
The company first announced its intention to build a park at the Younkers site in July 2021, but the opening day has been pushed back throughout its construction. EMC’s first announcement about the park claimed it would open in the summer of 2022; EMC announced that summer the project was delayed until spring 2023 due to supply chain issues.
While the park will not open until the weather warms up, EMC plans to reconnect the skywalk over 7th Street next month. The company is also building steps from the skywalk to the park, but that connection will not open until the park is finished.
The park will feature courts for basketball, pickleball, and cornhole, as well as seating areas and public artwork.