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OneVoice DSM Podcast Episode 1: The Most Transformational Quality of Life Project in DSM

Episode 1: Water Trails

September 26, 2019

Dan Houston wasn’t going to get in the water.

The Chairman, President and CEO of Principal and Chair of the Central Iowa Water Trails Incubator attended the celebration of the first of 86 sites of improvement throughout the region being completed. Houston saw others, including City of Johnston Mayor Paula Dierenfeld, take a kayak into the water at the access point at Beaver Creek on N.W. 70th Street in Johnston. He knew he had to try it for himself, so he strapped on a lifejacket over his suit and tie.

Houston recalled this story with Hannah Inman, Executive Director of the Great Outdoors Foundation and fellow Incubator Board Member, as well as Tiffany Tauscheck, Chief Strategy Officer at the Greater Des Moines Partnership and also an Incubator Board Member, during the recording of the OneVoice DSM Podcast.

An Evolving Project

The water trails project encompasses 150 miles of waterways throughout the region, and includes plans for an adventure park along the Principal Riverwalk that could have a national and even international draw. It will include elements of environmental conservation, enhanced recreation opportunities and much more, and serve as a key talent attraction and retention tool. It has been called the most transformational quality of life project of this generation.

Inman noted that the project will help people connect with nature even in an urban environment. The Incubator Board is focused on providing a positive experience for all residents, she said, regardless of socioeconomic background.

From a business perspective, companies like Principal have a vested interest in this project. Houston points out that every company needs recreational amenities like water trails to recruit employees to Greater Des Moines (DSM).

[Learn more about DSM’s outdoor recreation and trails.]

The project won’t happen overnight. To get this done, it will take a full community effort and public/private partnerships. Houston said there is widespread support for the project. Once completed, it will provide a best-in-class amenity for future generations to enjoy.

Learn more about the Central Iowa Water Trails project at centraliowawatertrails.org.

Described as the “most transformational quality-of-life project of our generation,” the Greater Des Moines Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan is a road map for enhancing experiences in and along 150 miles of waterways in Greater Des Moines (DSM).