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Lauridsen Skatepark Breaks Ground in Downtown DSM

Lauridsen Skatepark Breaks Ground in Downtown DSM

October 15, 2018

GREATER DES MOINES, IOWA (Oct. 15, 2018) – One of the largest skateparks in the U.S. is being built in Greater Des Moines (DSM). A groundbreaking ceremony for the Lauridsen Skatepark was held on Monday, Oct. 15 near the Principal Riverwalk in Downtown DSM.

Proposed more than a decade ago, the $3.5 million skatepark will be complete in 2019 and built to Olympic standard. It is named after Nix and Virginia Lauridsen, who gifted $1 million to the project from the Lauridsen Family Foundation.

Joining the Lauridsen Skatepark co-chairs, steering committee, business and civic leaders, were some of the 5,000 supporters who signed their name in support of the project. In addition, Josh Friedberg, pro skater and CEO of USA Skateboarding, the United States Olympic Committee-recognized national governing body for skateboarding, was in attendance.

“With skateboarding’s inclusion as an Olympic sport for the first time at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, it’s great to see cities looking at ways to address the focused interest and growing participation of skateboarders within their own communities,” Friedberg said. “DSM is ahead of the curve — the Lauridsen Skatepark is a world-class facility and it definitely has the potential to attract regional, national and even international skateboarding events to the region.”

The skatepark — a linchpin to the activation of Downtown DSM’s river as part of the Greater Des Moines Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan — has been designed by California Skateparks which is widely recognized throughout the industry as the leader in skatepark design having been behind courses that are used for world championships and for Olympic qualifying.

“Having designed hundreds of skateparks around the globe, I’m excited to see the Lauridsen Skatepark in Downtown DSM become a world-class facility for the region,” said California Skateparks Principle Landscape Architect Zach Wormhoudt. “We’re proud to have been involved in this project and can’t wait to see skaters from around the Midwest and beyond use it.”

The skatepark was originally proposed more than a decade ago after AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy) met with families across the region and asked them what was needed for local youth. The answer was clear — a large, world-class skatepark would greatly improve outdoor recreational opportunities for young people across the region from all types of backgrounds. Once complete, the Lauridsen Skatepark will have the capacity to host demonstrations and competitions.

The Polk County Board of Supervisors will manage construction of the skatepark, which will be located adjacent to the Principal Riverwalk Park between Second Avenue and the Des Moines River. Two acres of land have been donated by the City of Des Moines for the project. The more than 65,000-square-foot skatepark will be the largest in the Midwest and could attract around 40,000 visits from skaters each year.

In addition to the Lauridsen family’s donation, a number of donors have contributed to the skatepark’s viability. More than $3.3 million has been raised to date. Donations are still being accepted. See the full list of donors who donated $5,000 or more below.

Project Donors: 

$1 million

Lauridsen Family Foundation — Nix and Virginia Lauridsen


Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Leadership Circle — Catalyst Grant


Prairie Meadows – Legacy Grant


Bankers Trust and The Ruan Foundation

Gartner Family Fund

McAninch Corporation — Doug McAninch

MidAmerican Energy Company

Wells Fargo & Co.


Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

Heart of America Group

Jill and Mark Oman

Shazam, Inc.

W.T. and Edna M. Dahl Trust


Andrea and Greg Abel

Cultivating Compassion: The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation

EMC Insurance Companies

Dave and Trudy Holman Hurd Fund

ITA Group

William C. Knapp

Lohse Family Foundation

Meredith Corporation

Voss Distributing

Wellmark Foundation


American Enterprise Group, Inc.

Catch Des Moines

Register Media/Gannett Foundation


Greater Des Moines Partnership

Hansen Company

Hawkeye Hotels

Mike and Debbie Hubbell

Hubbell Realty Company

Iowa State Bank

John and Jan Mechem

Polk County Board of Supervisors

Sehgal Foundation

Susan and Carl Voss

West Bank Foundation

Voya Financial


Susan and Jake Christensen

Dickey and Campbell Law Firm, PLC

Eychaner Properties, Inc.

Farm Bureau Financial Services

Jann Freed and John Fisher

Friends of Des Moines Parks

Kurt and Cara Heiden

Janice Hill

Nelson Construction & Development

Lindsey and Tim Rypma

Robert Sand

Jaey and Brenda Sedlacek Family Charitable Trust in honor of Aidan and Bode Conlan

Norm and Danielle Sterzenbach

Storey-Kenworthy Foundation for Giving

Subsect Skateshop

Tony Hawk Foundation

Union Pacific

United Way of Central Iowa

Woodward Brenton Foundation