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Public Asked for Input on Possible Gray’s Lake Upgrades

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Changes are coming to the busiest park in the state, Gray’s Lake, and the city is asking for the public's help to decide.

On Tuesday night the Parks and Recreation Department announced, in its monthly meeting, that changes will come to Gray’s Lake’s long-term plan.

“Right now the park is great but it’s showing its age,” said Ben Page, director of Des Moines’ Parks and Recreation Department.

The city is not quite sure yet what the plan will cost but it will not be cheap.

“Parks improvements aren't inexpensive,” said Page. ”It could be several million dollars, when it is all said and done.”

Over the next few months the city will hold public forums to gather the public's input. The dates of the forums have not yet been released but Page said the input is vital in the success of the park.

Page said that the park sees over one million visitors a year and with that amount of traffic it is time for some maintenance.

“The site furniture is outdated and it's showing its age too because it has just been used so much,” said Page.

In addition to upgrading the park furniture, visitors can expect a new trail but it won’t come cheap.

“The trail surface needs to be replaced within the next five years,” says Page. “Just to give you an example, right now, what we pay for a mile of trail is about a million dollars a mile. That's a two mile loop."

The funding will come from a mix of city and donor funding. The cost of the total project will depend on what changes are agreed upon.

Page says that one thing he won’t compromise on is the look of the park.

“One of the things that is important to me as the parks' director, as well as the donor committee, is to retain the natural beauty,” Paid said.

The visitors shouldn’t expect upgrades to be major.

“We are not going to add a disc golf course or tennis courts,” said Page. “Think of it as bringing your car in for a routine checkup.”

The Parks and Recreation Department said that one of the bigger expected upgrades talked about is the expansion of the yoga area.