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$4.5 Million Conservation Center Coming to Madison County

Conservation Center in Madison County

October 5, 2018

We’ve all seen the statistics which show that many adults and children in the U.S. have lost a close connection with nature due to sedentary lifestyles, busy schedules and increased use of electronic devices. The good news is that many adults and children express a desire to close that gap!

Here in Madison County, we have an abundance of natural beauty and scenic vistas, and our beautiful county and city parks are glorious places for hikes, picnics and treasure hunts. We’re about to kick it all up a notch with the construction of a new Conservation Center in Madison County’s Pammel Park which will be a portal to the outdoors, providing new opportunities to learn, explore and recreate our Madison County story.

This $4.5 million project will increase and enhance year-round environmental education programming, improve community health and wellness through increased outdoor recreation opportunities, and help our youth get outdoors and un-plugged. Young adults, families and millennials will enjoy enhanced adventure programming, and seniors will benefit from active lifestyle opportunities.

The Madison County Conservation Center will be a model of green construction and sustainability. The project will utilize sustainable building materials, including native and natural materials plus recycled materials. It will operate with a high-efficiency utility system, including solar and geo-thermal heating and cooling, plus solar, LED and metered lighting as well as use of glass and heat absorbing floor materials. A retention pond will double as an aquatic classroom, collecting water from building roof run-off, grey-water recaptured from building, and pervious parking/roadway intercepts.

Regional approach

From a regional perspective, the Madison County Conservation Center aligns perfectly with one of the key goals of the Capital Crossroads Vision Plan to make Greater Des Moines (DSM) recognized nationally as a best practice region for environmental sustainability and diverse array of natural amenities. 

Madison County is the fastest-growing rural county in Iowa with more than 70 rural sub-divisions in process with continual expansion. DSM businesses seeking to attract and retain talent often suggest residency in Madison County due to our proximity to Downtown DSM and the surrounding region, our attractive quality of life and the alluring livability of this community. Our investment in a new Conservation Center as a recreational amenity plays a role in helping companies to maintain talent in this region. 

Beyond the bridges

Talent in Madison CountyOutside of covered bridges, Madison County is known for our majestic limestone bluffs, meandering river systems, rolling prairies and grasslands, and unique oak/savanna forests. We’re excited about the opportunity to promote Madison County’s unique natural resources to our visitors and guests from around the world, because we know that a trip here is not complete without an outdoor adventure!  The thousands of tourists who visit Madison County each year will be sure to embrace this Conservation Center as a new way to enjoy our community.

We know that spending time in nature has been associated with reducing depression and anxiety, increasing self-esteem and awareness for people of all ages, and boosting overall happiness. The more time we spend in a nature environment, the better we’re going to feel. This project will play a vital role in encouraging healthy living, while stimulating curiosity, increasing calm, strengthening senses and improving mental health.

Please join us in our campaign to construct a center that is professionally designed and equipped to educate and intrigue. Together we can build a legacy so future generations of DSM residents will stay connected to the outdoors.

Whether it’s a morning on the lake or an evening spent riding through Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) 800 miles of connected recreational trails, the region has many outdoor options.

Heather Riley

Heather Riley is a 1992 graduate of the University of Missouri with a BA degree in German and a 1993 graduate of Iowa State University with a BBA in Finance. Heather is a member of the 2010 Class of the Des Moines Business Record's "Forty Under 40" and a graduate of the Madison County Leadership Institute.