April 27, 2023

DES MOINES, IA (April 27, 2023) – ICON Water Trails has broken ground on the first of its downtown sites, the access point located at the Scott Avenue dam in Des Moines. This project includes both in-water and uplands work, with eventual whitewater features and educational plaza. In honor of a generous $3 million investment from Principal Financial Group, the location will henceforth be known as Principal Point.

In 2019, the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) applied and received a $25 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD, grant program of the U.S. Department of Transportation, on behalf of ICON Water Trails. This funding accelerated the project timeline significantly, and the amenities and improvements at Principal Point are expected to be complete by the end of 2026. In total, more than $97 million have been invested in ICON’s once-in-a-generation strategy.

“Today is a momentous occasion and the perfect opportunity to pause and celebrate all that has been accomplished thus far,” Hannah Inman, Interim Director for ICON Water Trails and CEO of the Great Outdoors Foundation, said. “We have our partners — specifically the Des Moines Area MPO, the State of Iowa, Polk County, and the City of Des Moines — to thank, and want to be sure that everyone, including donors, volunteers, and staffers, have a moment to enjoy this incredible accomplishment in the lifetime of the project.”

ICON Water Trails is a collaborative initiative connecting 150 miles of waterways in Central Iowa. Currently, there are fourteen regional access points open and accessible to the public, with an additional two sites slated to come online within the next year. Progress on ICON’s Fleur Drive site, the second of its three low head dam mitigation projects, is moving forward concurrent with the work being done at Principal Point. Once these two downtown attractions are up and running, ICON is projected to be the second most visited whitewater attraction in the country with more than $2 million in revenue by year three of operations.

“There is something for everyone to get excited about when it comes to ICON,” Monica Converse, Project Manager for ICON Water Trails, said. “Today’s groundbreaking is just the first of many reasons to celebrate this transformational placemaking endeavor.”

Updates on ICON’s downtown construction can be found here.

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.