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OneVoice DSM Podcast: Johnston Gateway District

Johnston Gateway District

April 5, 2021


The OneVoice DSM “Major Projects” podcast series highlights the major projects and initiatives happening in Greater Des Moines (DSM), as well as the key players and Partnership Investors making these projects happen. 

Greater Des Moines Partnership Chief Operations Officer Tiffany Tauscheck was joined by John Schmitz, Parks Director for the City of Johnston, and Adam Plagge, Economic Development Manager for the City of Johnston, for a discussion on the 75 acres that will establish a reinvestment district between Beaver Creek and Northwest 55thAvenue along Merle Hay Road. Redevelopment will include the following:

  • Ignit Sports & Fitness Facility
  • Gateway Park Development
  • Hotel and Commercial Development
  • Kayak Launch Along Beaver Creek
  • Ecological-Themed Hotel

The Johnston Gateway Project is unique due to its proximity to Beaver Creek. The recreational corridor, including the Greenbelt, extends far and continuously, preserving a natural element and recreational and educational opportunities for its residents. The Johnston Gateway Project will focus on the natural amenities along Beaver Creek and leverage that into supporting new recreation and supporting commercial developments. The City of Johnston has had this project in the works for a long time. Schmitz says in the past six to eight years, with the completion of other major projects like Terra Park and work on the water trails projects, now is the right time to continue development. Schmitz says with the growth of youth sports in the past few years, there is a demand for first-class facilities for different skill levels, including both competitive and beginner and recreational players. Plagge says the Ignite Sports and Fitness Facility will break ground this summer and help bring hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the Merle Hay Road area, eventually connecting it to the water trails with the addition of the third kayak launchalong Beaver Creek.

Read about the first water trail access point opening at Beaver Creek in Johnston here.

Regional Impact

The public and private partnerships have been critical to the success of the project. With this type of collaboration, the City of Johnston can be far more efficient with the funds spent. While the building and facility will be owned by Ignit, the City of Johnston will be able to utilize the facility at a 10% rate, which exceeds the type of recreational facility they could have constructed on their own, saving on costs and opening the door to activities that wouldn’t be possible without the partnership.  

Listen to the entire podcast above to learn more. Check out additional episodes in the “Major Projects” series including updates on the Dico Superfund site and the Merle Hay Mall redevelopment project

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. 

OneVoice DSM

The OneVoice DSM Podcast shares the story of major projects and initiatives shaping the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region, highlighting the key players and the Greater Des Moines Partnership Investors who are making them happen. Each episode you'll learn about a game-changing project and hear in-depth conversation with community leaders who are helping drive it forward with one voice and one mission as one region. OneVoice DSM can be found wherever you get your podcasts. Check out the OneVoice DSM blog for more insights into the future of DSM.