Groundbreaking Planned for Easter Lake Project on Oct. 26
The groundbreaking has officially been set for the Athene North Shore Recreation Area at Easter Lake Park. As Polk County’s most visited amenity in the last year — with more than 1.1 million visitors — the need to reimagine the Easter Lake beach front and create a more inclusive location became clear. Thanks to the collaboration of community members, who helped raise funds and guide design development, the Athene North Shore Recreation Area is set to become the most universally accessible park in the country. It will include zero-entry ramps, adaptive recreation equipment, extra-wide sidewalks and accessible navigation. The updates will help create a safe, welcoming space for visitors of all abilities, but specifically cater to those with disabilities and Veterans.
About the North Shore Recreation Area Project
In Iowa, there are 370,000+ individuals with disabilities and 240,000+ Veterans living in the state. The updated park, already home to the disability-friendly 4.1-mile Mark C. Ackelson Trail, will go even further to create an environment of independence for everyone wanting to enjoy the outdoors. With the help of Shive-Hattery, a design was created that incorporates transportation, staffing, equipment, maintenance and more for the park. Expect to see the following planned amenities:
ADA accessible pontoon boat
- Quiet, de-escalation rooms for people with sensory input conditions
- Large beach mats to serve as accessible walkways over sand
- Extra-wide concrete paths for wheelchairs and walkers
- Full inventory of adaptive and accessible equipment for rent
- Zero-entry ramps providing easier access to the water
- Fully accessible natural playscape
- Nature and outdoor recreation programming including accessible equipment and curricula
Donations have come from DSM corporations, foundations, nonprofits, individuals and families in order to make these innovative additions possible. You can view the entire list of donors to see all the amazing contributors helping to move the project to the next phase. Any additional funds raised will be used to employ fully trained staff and fund maintenance and replacement of equipment.
Read more about the vision for the project or donate now at the Great Outdoors Foundation site.
The groundbreaking will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. Once construction is complete, a grand opening will be held in the spring of 2024. For up-to-date information on the project’s progress, visit EasterLakeNorthShore.com.
Throughout Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) 10-county region, a thriving economic environment is attracting more Investors to do business. Learn more about other recent development projects in the region.
As the Community Outreach Supervisor for Polk County Conservation, Jessica has the great privilege of leading locals to explore the outdoors through dynamic storytelling, social media engagement and vital partnership building. Want to connect? Join Jessica for a good hike at her favorite local park, Brown's Woods.