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New Water Works Park Project May be New Spot for Festivals

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  If you’ve been by Water Works Park lately you probably noticed all the construction going on. By next spring, the first phase of the new park will be finished.

Water Works Park sits on 1,500 acres of land, the Water Works Park Foundation said this makes it the fifth largest urban park in the country.

Construction is underway for the park, concrete is being poured for the winding trails that are designed to mimic rivers. The $13 million project is expected to have lots of room for parking, restroom facilities and two natural play areas -- think of a playground with all-natural elements.

But the main event is the two-way amphitheater that can hold between 6,000 and 8,000 people but can hold many more people on the great lawn. A part of the design of the great lawn includes a pathway that would serve as a space for festivals. The foundation has reached out to organizers behind some of the festivals.

“To find out what they need and what some of the challenges are of some of the different places they’ve been staged. So, we think it will be a great place for whether that’s festivals that are relocating down here if they choose to but also an opportunity for some other festivals because of obviously a very diverse culture that Des Moines is continues to expand,” Water Works Park Foundation Executive Director Sam Carrell said.

The second phase of the project is an underground tunnel that connects Gray’s Lake to the new park. The tunnel will be 85 feet long, 20 feet wide and ten feet high, it will run underneath Fleur Drive.  Water Works Park Foundation said while the park will be safe from flooding, the tunnel may not have the same outcome during heavy rain.

“The flooding at the end of June, beginning of July, that didn’t get this area at all. In fact, George Flagg will close, then Fleur would actually be flooded before it would ever get up to this area. It will flood up a little bit through the tunnel, just because of the topography but if it ever filled more than that basin then it would be a hundred-year event, and everything would be flooded at that point.” Carrell said.

The tunnel is expected to be finished by December 2019.