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Waterways Plan Would Get Rid of Downtown Dams

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Rendering of project to mitigate Center Street dam (Courtesy: Des Moines Register)

Rendering of project to mitigate Center Street dam (Courtesy: Des Moines Register)

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is envisioning a different look for Des Moines’ main waterways.

The group is examining plans that would make dramatic changes to downtown Des Moines. Among the ideas to increase recreation opportunities are mitigating the Center Street dam, which has been in place since 1917.

Some renderings of what the project, which would also remove the Scott Street dam, have been released. They show the stretch of the Des Moines River that runs through downtown made safe for kayakers and tubers. There is also the addition of natural boulders to allow for whitewater course.

The group says only concepts the would keep existing water levels above the Center Street dam are being considered for the project.

The DMAMPO developed the plan, on behalf of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The group is asking for the public’s input on the plans. They’re holding “The Dam Debate” Tuesday afternoon at the Central Library in Des Moines from noon to 1:00 p.m.