A proposal for museum
To the editor:
I have been reading several articles in The Messenger about the Hydro-Electric dam on the Des Moines River. It seems that no one is quite sure what to do with it. I know that there are several people in the community that enjoy the area, both on the Hydro-Electric Park side, and on the Loomis Park side. There are fishermen in the area, and some people who just enjoy stopping by and viewing the river. Of course there are also the two parks that are well used.
A thought came to me after reading these newspaper articles. What if the city/state/county decided to make the site into a museum of the Des Moines River? I’m not sure, but I don’t think that we have such a place in Iowa, and the Des Moines River is the largest waterway inside Iowa. I’m sure, with a little research, there could be a great deal of material available to stock the museum. (This might be a nice complement to the Fort Museum as well.)
The existing building might possibly be restored and made to house the collection and the information. Platforms or walkways could be built for viewing the river, etc. Someone even mentioned that a small restaurant/gift shop might be possible on the grounds. The money that would be needed to tear the old facility down or somehow make it economically viable could be used to repair and remodel the existing site. There may even be grants available for such a venture.
I don’t know if the building is structurally sound, or if any of this is feasible, but if the original site could be restored and enjoyed, it might make more sense than just demolishing it.