Hubbell Realty Donates $1 Million to Water Trails Plan in Hopes of Attracting and Retaining Talent

DES MOINES, Iowa -- "I would absolutely take advantage of this," said downtown resident Jenna Sheldon. "I think it would be great for downtown development and tourist attractions, as well."

Sheldon thinks bringing recreational activities to downtown waters is a great idea.

"It would be really nice to utilize the waterways a little bit more," said Sheldon. "Living right downtown, it'd be nice to just kind of put my kayak right in and use it..."

And that's exactly what The Greater Des Moines Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan hopes to accomplish.

Whether it's kayaking, whitewater rafting, surfing, fishing, or just splashing around, the goal is to provide access to the water and reconnect people to the rivers.

"The three dams within downtown, they're really not safe," said Hannah Inman, Executive Director of the Great Outdoors Foundation. "And certainly we`ve seen that with some of the deaths over the years. So, we're not taking out the dams; we`re mitigating them and making them safer. And by doing that, we take one sheer drop and make it into four smaller drops at the Center Street Dam."

The plan will allow people to recreate in the water in a safe environment.

"The same thing happens at Scott Avenue and at Fleur," said Inman. "And, so you`re gonna have the ability to get in the water, which we don't see anyone in the water right now downtown. This is gonna allow people to do that."

That's why Hubbell Realty was so eager to get on board and contribute $1 million to the project, to help move the ball forward.

"For Des Moines, Iowa, our biggest problem right now is how we`re gonna attract and retain talent," said Rick Tollakson, President and CEO of Hubbell Realty. "The biggest issue facing every business in our community, is how do we attract and retain talent. We have the confluence of two great rivers that have the flows that allow us to make this project happen. Very few cities have that. We have that. We need to capitalize on it and we need to do it now."