April 27, 2023

On April 27, 2023, ICON Water Trails and its partners broke ground on the future Scott Avenue site, Principal Point. The event was the culmination of a significant milestone in the lifeline of the project and allowed ICON and its stakeholders to celebrate the commencement of its future downtown run.

About Principal Point

Because it is located at the confluence of the Des Moines and the Raccoon, the Scott Avenue site, Principal Point, represents the connectivity of ICON’s system as a whole. ICON’s regional partners are already doing a fantastic job of activating their ICON sites, so the organization is thrilled to mirror that enthusiasm and progress with the downtown portion of the project. Improvements at this site include two in-water drops to allow for passage through this stretch of the river, enhanced fish habitats, and an educational plaza. Aside from these amenities, a tremendous amount of work is being done on the uplands portion of the site to restore floodplains and provide the proper grading for improved user access. In total, this site will create a unique nature connection against the urban backdrop of the Des Moines skyline.


Economic Impact

In terms of ICON’s signature downtown sites, the entirety of the Scott Avenue project as well as the Fleur Drive access point, will be operational by the end of 2026. At which time, ICON is projected to be the second most visited whitewater attraction in the country. By year three of operation, estimated revenue is anticipated to exceed $2 million, with more than 103,000 annual users. To learn more about ICON’s downtown run, click here. In just a few short years, residents and visitors alike will be able to surf on the Des Moines River with the downtown skyline behind them!

Environmental Conservation

Water quality and preservation are of utmost priority for our region, and there is tremendous synergy between existing water quality initiatives and ICON’s conservation efforts. Best practices in water quality are integrated into the very design of ICON. Within the BUILD Grant sites — the Scott Avenue Dam and Harriet Street projects — $3 million has been allocated to water quality solutions. Already, investments in ICON are being used as in-kind support for grants that leverage additional federal funding for landowners and farmers to improve water quality through voluntary conservation practices on private land. So far, an additional $20 million in federal funding has been realized through two public-private partnerships co-led by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance. These public-private partnerships are the exact mechanisms needed to move the needle on water quality in our county, region, and state.

About ICON Water Trails

Iowa Confluence Water Trails — ICON, for short — will connect 80+ improvements across 150 miles of rivers and creeks in Central Iowa. Initiated by the Central Iowa Water Trails Consortium, including Capital Crossroads, Catch Des Moines, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Des Moines Area MPO, Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Great Outdoors Foundation, ICON represents a new commitment to water safety and conservation as well as a concerted effort to drive economic development, visitor attraction and workforce retention. Learn more at ICONwatertrails.com. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.