‘A dynamic area’
Plan for Central River District introduced
A riverfront park at the west end of Central Avenue would be a key feature in a neighborhood that is a prime location for recreation, residences and even some industries, according to planners.
The area has been labeled the Central River District. It is between the Des Moines River and the City Square.
“We see this as a pretty dynamic area on the west side of downtown that has some strong relationships with the river,” Tim West, a landscape architect and project manager with Snyder & Associates, of Ankeny, told the City Council Monday.
He said Central Avenue is the “main spine” of the district.
At the west end of Central Avenue, near its intersection with First Street, is an open area right along the river that will be redeveloped as a park as part of a package of quality of life projects introduced earlier this month. That property has sat vacant for about 20 years since a pair of major fires destroyed the old AGP plant that once stood there.
“The riverfront park is probably the biggest contributor to the success of this district,” said Diane Goering, a landscape architect with Snyder & Associates.
The park has been described as a front porch for downtown. A Webster County Conservation nature center would be a major attraction within the park. Other features would include picnic shelters, trail connections, a river overlook and an area to be called the Karl King Sculpture and Sound Garden.
West told the council that planners are still working to determine the best place in the park to provide kayak access to the river.
Some earthmoving at the park could begin this fall, with construction of the nature center to start next year.
The reconstruction of First Street alongside the park could begin this fall.
The plan for the district includes more than the park, however.
It envisions an area along the south side of Central Avenue called The Village that would have a mix of businesses and multi-family housing.
It also envisions the north side of Central Avenue as a place for light industry. Josephson Manufacturing, a maker of radiators and cooling packages for heavy equipment, is already located there.
The plan also calls for improvements to Central Avenue and Third Street, which would include adding bike lanes.