February 1, 2024
DES MOINES, IA (Feb. 1, 2024) – The Great Outdoors Foundation is pleased to announce that the MidAmerican Energy Regional Fund, a $5 million investment in ICON Water Trails, has awarded its $125,000 fall grant to the City of West Des Moines. The funding will be used to establish access to the Raccoon River, directly south of Historic Valley Junction, within the 35-acre Raccoon River Greenway.
ICON Water Trails is a transformational quality of life initiative aimed at connecting 150 miles of waterways across Central Iowa. Its strategic design leverages outdoor recreation to promote conservation and water safety while driving workforce development and tourism attraction throughout the region. There are currently 15 active sites within ICON that are open and available for use, and several more access points, including the above, are set to come online in 2024. ICON is already well into construction for the first of its signature downtown sites, Principal Point at the Scott Avenue dam, and will break ground on its Harriet Street site, later this year.
“ICON Water Trails is an exemplary model for regionalism,” Kathryn Kunert, Vice President of Economic Connections and Integration for MidAmerican Energy Company, said. “We’re thrilled with how the network of sites continues to grow and produce economic and environmental vitality for Central Iowa.”
“The City of West Des Moines’ project truly embodies the connectivity that’s at the core of ICON Water Trails,” Hannah Inman, Chief Executive Officer of the Great Outdoors Foundation, said. “The MidAmerican Energy Fund continues to maximize existing momentum and accelerate the strategy behind ICON to deliver measurable benefits throughout our community.”
In addition to establishing entry at this point along Raccoon River, the new ICON site will also include:
- A paved boat ramp
- Parking area with ADA access
- Bike racks and repair station
- Native plantings
- Wayfinding signage
- Respite and viewing benches
“We’re incredibly grateful to MidAmerican Energy Company for its commitment to ICON and our region,” Stephanie Oppel, Executive Director of ICON Water Trails, said. “Our partners continue to demonstrate the ability of this initiative to not only improve our waterways, but improve our communities.”
About the Great Outdoors Foundation
The Great Outdoors Foundation exists to advance conservation through innovation, collaboration, and stewardship. We are the foremost fundraising professionals in the conservation and outdoor recreation sector. Together, we activate meaningful, accessible initiatives that enhance our environment and improve quality of life. Over the last three years, we have invested more than $200 million in conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives, and we’re just getting started.
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.